Young crop of cricketers did India proud | india | Hindustan Times
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Young crop of cricketers did India proud

india Updated: Oct 21, 2010 23:24 IST

A clean sweep by India looms large for Australia, something unthinkable for cricketers of our generation. The opportunity is there for a team considered meek once upon a time.

Only, India are anything but meek, more so in familiar conditions. They had a better run of play on Wednesday and winning the toss was critical. Yet, they deserve praise for chasing down a stiff target with young shoulders coming to the fore.

Australia too are young but they still are the No. 1 ODI side at the moment. The world's strongest usually have a good core of bench strength. So, no excuses here. The Indians were better on the night.

India won because their young batsmen fired. Two of them - the openers - failed. Yet, the rest sizzled. Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina were brilliant and the returning Yuvraj Singh did his prop-up act superbly.

India controlled most of the game but for those bizarre final overs of the Australia innings. In those five overs, 84 runs were plundered. Vinay Kumar, Ashish Nehra and Praveen Kumar bore the onslaught.

Not all of those overs belonged to power-play. The final three were bowled in regular field setting. Yet, Cameron White was unstoppable. The spin of R Ashwin to break things up could have been an option. But there was a silver lining. The wicket that was initially slow quickened up as the evening settled in. The ball came on to the bat nicely and the Australian overdrive was testimony to it. India just needed to be patient, and they were so once the chase began.

The strategy under MS Dhoni has been to retain wickets for a better part of the innings. They stuck to their plan brilliantly without taking undue risks. The openers left early but Kohli and Yuvraj were intent on consolidation. Gears were gradually shifted. Suresh Raina later went into an overdrive. It was all so smooth, such a gradual build-up that the final cascade of victory was almost predictable. It's fair to say India chased down the target without too much of a sweat.

In bowling too, Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers. Vinay Kumar had a horror of a final spell but he would be better off for the experience.

The win should give India the momentum. New Zealand, in their current plight, don't look a testing opposition. The visit to South Africa in December could be utilised for the younger batsman to gain in experience, especially against the shorter stuff.

If all goes to plan, India should be ready for the World Cup in February.