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India determined to halt Proteas' run

A victory in the 2nd ODI would see S Africa equal 21-match record winning streak of Australia.

india Updated: Nov 19, 2005 14:31 IST

A determined India will seek to bounce back and halt South Africa's winning sequence in the second cricket one-dayeron Saturday, fully aware that another slip up could put them under enormous pressure in the remaining matches of the series.

The hosts conceded the early initiative by losing the first match by five wickets and they would now have to regroup and rework their strategies for the day-night encounter at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

With the win at Hyderabad and a 20-match unbeaten streak under their belt, South Africa would be riding high on confidence as they go into the match where a victory would see them equal the 21-match record winning streak of Australia.

Some pressure would obviously be on the Indians after the setback in the opener although skipper Rahul Dravid has promised to bounce back with a better performance in the second game of the five-match series.

Graeme Smith's men are undoubtedly on a roll, and the clinical fashion in which they outplayed the hosts has not gone unnoticed on Greg Chappell and company.

The reverse, coming on the back of a thumping 6-1 series win against Sri Lanka, has come as a jolt for the home team which was keen to get the momentum going.

The kind of batting collapse, which saw them being reduced to 35 for five in the first game, has not been seen for some years in Indian cricket.

Dravid, however, tried to put up a brave front, saying "we have got to come back strongly. We are confident that if we can do a few things right, we will be very competitive in the series. I think it's going to be a close series".

Saturday's encounter is going to be a truly special one for Dravid as he would be playing his first international match as a captain on his home ground.

And the fact that he has not scored a century here in either forms of the game is something which must be playing on his mind.

"It's great to play in Bangalore as captain," said Dravid who has been coming to the Stadium from the time he was a 13-14 years old.

"I probably spent more time in the stadium than my home," said the batsman who can rest assured that a capacity, sell-out crowd would be cheering for him when the ball sets rolling.

Dravid said a batting strategy for the first 15 overs and cutting down on extras -- it conceded 24 in Hyderabad -- were the concerns that were being addressed to come out with an improved performance.

India would also bank on Virender Sehwag to fire as the Delhi opener has not been able to convert starts into a big innings for some time now.

He can make amendson Saturdayon another batsman-friendly pitch which the curators said would produce a high-scoring match.

"It's full of runs, a typical one-day track," said Chief Curator Narayan Raju, who was at pains to explain how the dew factor would not play a major part in deciding the outcome.

Meanwhile, the battle-hardened South Africans, have bigger things on their mind. "We want to be the first South African team to win a one-day series in India," said coach Micky Arthur.

Bangalore, in a way, is a memorable venue for the tourists, ranked second in the ICC ODI rankings.

It was here in 2000 that Hansie Cronje's men crushed the home team by an innings and 71 runs to wrap the Test series 2-0. The only time, they played a one-day game here was in 1993-94, against Zimbabwe that was rained out.

The Indians have won eight one-dayers here, and lost four.

The visiting team has evolved into a tremendous fighting unit, a sea-change from a year-ago. The 4-1 win over England and white-washing of New Zealand have done a world of good for their confidence.

Teams (from):

India: Rahul Dravid (capt), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Sreesanth, Gautam Gambhir, Rudra Pratap Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Jai Prakash Yadav.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), Jacques Kallis, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Andrew Hall, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Albie Morkel, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Justin Ontong, Robin Peterson, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince.

First Published: Nov 18, 2005 15:17 IST