India look to hurt Oz
Doesn't matter whether it's the western, northern or southern part of India, Australia just can't avoid the injury blues. Many of the players they would have liked on tour are back home and ahead of Thursday's fifth ODI, Moises Henriques became the latest addition to that list, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.cricket Updated: Nov 05, 2009 00:20 IST
Doesn't matter whether it's the western, northern or southern part of India, Australia just can't avoid the injury blues. Many of the players they would have liked on tour are back home and ahead of Thursday's fifth ODI, Moises Henriques became the latest addition to that list.
This all-rounder is also returning to Australia because of a hamstring injury and it means the not-so-convincing Adam Voges will return to the XI with either Ben Hilfenhaus or Brett Lee's replacement Clinton McKay coming in for Peter Siddle, Australia's most outstanding bowler in this series so far.
Does it mean much in terms of the overall equations altering? Does it mean the hosts gaining an advantage in their quest for a series win that would lift them to the top of ICC ODI rankings? It probably does, as far as the resources of the two teams are concerned, but a few things need to be done in order to achieve that.
The Aussies are indeed hamstrung by injuries. No team in recent memory has been subjected to this kind of misfortune on an away tour. Probably nobody would have criticised India had they lost hands down to Zimbabwe in a similar situation. Conversely, few would spare Mahendra Singh Dhnoi's team if it doesn't put it across the beleaguered Aussies now.
This doesn't mean Australia are out of it. They showed commendable powers of application in the fourth game and won it without having posted a total safe enough to ensure victory in conditions prevalent in the sub-continent.
That they did win in Mohali means India now must pull up their socks. In other words, they must tie up a few loose ends.
The margin for error on pitches provided for ODIs in India — Hyderabad being no exception — is very less.
This might to an extent negate the disproportionate ratio of resources the teams have at the moment but plans still have to be executed. For India to pull it off, they must get some runs from the top order. It doesn't necessarily mean a big opening partnership. All that they need is one of the openers to be there for a considerable amount of time. Given the kind of players they are, either Sachin Tendulkar or Virender Sehwag spending some time in the middle means a significant amount of runs, to go with a middle-order that has been scoring.
If India bat big, first or second, the pressure on Australia is bound to mount. The visitors showed commendable spirit in the last game to pull off a surprise win, but it had as much to do with India’s own wrongdoings as much as the good work done by Australia. With three to go, it's a question of minimising unforced errors now. Resources notwithstanding, whoever does that better should have the last laugh.