Sri Lanka's bonus-point victory over Australia at Sydney has thrown open the tri-series, and every game from now on will be crucial. I remember mentioning in my earlier columns about the importance of Sri Lanka coming to the party. Mahela Jayawardene's team has done exactly that. What thrills me more is the Lanka skipper's decision to promote himself to the top.
Sri Lanka has a long batting line-up and needs a solid start at the top and, with the fielding restriction on, Mahela could also take the liberty to get back amongst runs. What it also does is that the boundary-scoring options open up for him in the first 10 overs. While the Lankans have pulled up their game, Australia are looking jittery, especially with their batting falling apart.
Except for David Hussey, no one has been consistent. While Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey are struggling with their ODI form, newcomers like Wade, Forrest and Christian have failed to live up to expectations. It is important for Ponting and Hussey to score as otherwise, the dissenting voices will get shriller.
Based on current situation and form, India should walk out confident in Brisbane.
India's bowling and fielding is getting sharper by the day. But their problem lies batting. They are playing at the Gabba for the first time and will have to get used to the bounce quickly. Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli and Dhoni have been amongst runs but the remaining batters need to fire.
If the rotation policy is to be given proper effect, then Manoj Tiwary should get a game at Brisbane. He has waited in the wings for long. He should carry with him the confidence of the hundred he scored in his last outing against the West Indies.
India should take advantage of Australia's jittery form and win this game to take a big step towards the three-match final.
(The writer is a former India captain)
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