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India have fingers crossed as Oz face Lanka

India cricketers and their fans would be praying for an Australia victory when the hosts take on Sri Lanka in the last but the most crucial league match of the CB Series here on Friday.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2012 01:37 IST

India cricketers and their fans would be praying for an Australia victory when the hosts take on Sri Lanka in the last but the most crucial league match of the CB Series here on Friday.

But for the miraculous 321-run chase in under 40 overs against Sri Lanka, India were out of the fray but the win has given them a glimmer of hope.

If the Aussies beat the Sri Lankans, India will be through to the best-of-three finals. In fact, the Indians have put their practice on hold till the result.

A major worry for hosts, already in the finals, is Michael Clarke's stiff back. The skipper, who sat out of a few matches in the series because of the problem, may not be available on Friday.

"We think he's going to be okay. But we're certainly going to have a low-risk strategy. If he's just about right, I don't think we'll play him. But I think he'll be okay," national selector John Inverarity stated on Clarke's fitness ahead of the match.

Should it be decided to rest Clarke, the leadership would be once against taken over by all-rounder Shane Watson.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have quite a few issues to deal with after the stunning debacle against India. No bowler has ever conceded a higher rate of runs in a stint of at least five overs than the 12.52 that Lasith Malinga did in his 1-96 against India. A bowler, who is feared internationally, it was a thoroughly humbling night as Virat Kohli took him to the cleaners.

On the bright side, Tillakaratne Dilshan's bat, which was uncharacteristically quiet, plundered runs against India.

Kumar Sangakkara too hit form and the duo's form would be crucial to the team's prospects.