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Looking to find their feet once again

india Updated: Mar 13, 2012 03:09 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
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Every match Sachin Tendulkar has played since scoring his 99th international century, which he got against South Africa in the World Cup, people world over have been waiting for the special one. It's been just about a year now and the Little Master has played 11 Tests and 11 one-day internationals in the span, 32 knocks to be precise. The closer he had come, the more disappointed he had left himself and his legion of fans.

Tendulkar invokes renewed expectations as India return to the subcontinent to play their first match of the Asia Cup against familiar foes Sri Lanka.

Bouncing back
But Tuesday's match is not just about whether the statistically richest man of Indian cricket would get richer. It is also redemption of sorts sought by MS Dhoni's boys and a build up to another long Indian Premier League fixture with a one-off T20 tie in South Africa in between.

Rarely has someone in Indian cricket captured the psyche of people, even with Tendulkar around, than Virat Kohli. His one knock in Hobart, incidentally the last face-off between the two teams where India chased down 321 by the 37th over, and his form in the series Down Under, has catapulted him to Dhoni's deputy. Dhoni brushed aside suggestions of added pressure on the 23-year-old.

Shut down
The tied match and a loss against Sri Lanka, in between the two wins against them, coupled with the islanders' solid show against Australia had thrown India out of the CB Series early. Another early exit would be calamitous. But India may gain from the fact that Sri Lanka have played five matches in 10 days and are tired.

The other thing that went against Mahela Jayawardene's boys is that a political rally on Monday forced a shut down of the city. The team could not train and get a feel of the conditions here. In fact, even the trophy unveiling ceremony was cancelled.

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