India go into the third game of the tri-series having lost one and won one. They will play on the best batting surface in Australia and, hopefully, their confidence level, as far as their batting goes, is high after the Sri Lanka win. We saw it in the Test series that, after losing the first three Tests, their batting effort on an excellent batting surface was very ordinary. It happens because of the lack of runs to boost your confidence.
All three teams are evenly placed, barring Australia’s bowling, which is superior. The long Sri Lankan batting looked susceptible till Angelo Mathews played a good knock but couldn’t see his side through. This competition will go down to the wire and the team that sustains the physical and mental battle, will make it to the finals.
Virat Kohli is giving India some worry after his fall in Perth. He has looked good in batting and will hopefully recover before the game, because Kohli is the key to India’s fortunes in the tournament, especially at the business end. The Indians are talking of rotation and there is talk of Sachin Tendulkar being rested, but I doubt that will happen. A look at Sachin’s career will show you that if he is in a tournament, he will keep playing. He gets better with more time in the middle and I don’t think he will like to miss out on a batting surface in Adelaide. It will be difficult for MS Dhoni to have Sachin out of the eleven if he wants to play. There is a question mark on Virender Sehwag’s form. His inconsistency in the ODI format has baffled all and he needs to ask himself, is he showing enough determination in his approach to succeed in the ODIs?
I agree with Dhoni on the rotation policy and feel it is important to play Manoj Tiwary. Because the message being conveyed to the youngster at the moment is that a hundred scored under pressure is not good enough to get you five games in a batting unit, which hasn’t scored many tons of late. He should get an opportunity ahead of Suresh Raina as the latter is getting out in the same fashion again and again.
Australia will not play Hussey in this game in order to give young Forrester a game along with Mitchell Marsh. So, there is an opportunity for India to quickly open up the Aussie middle-order, given Ponting and Clarke’s form so far in this ODI series. One can see the Aussies wanting to bring in more youngsters in all formats and it’s an example India should follow.
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(the writer is a former India captain)