India in cruise mode before third ODI

The team will only have to guard against complacency today.
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Updated on Oct 31, 2005 05:08 AM IST
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PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, Jaipur

After proving in the second one-day international at Mohali that the Nagpur win over Sri Lanka was no flash in the pan, India will be keen to make it 3-0 when the two teams clash in Jaipur on Monday.

India defeated the islanders by 152 runs in the first match in Nagpur and by eight wickets in Mohali on Friday to surge ahead 2-0 in the seven-match series.

The home team now look to cash in on Sachin Tendulkar and captain Rahul Dravid's fine form, coupled with Irfan Pathan's impressive bowling and overall superb fielding displays.

Marvan Atapattu's Sri Lanka have looked completely hopeless so far, and only a drastic improvement at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur on Monday will save Sri Lanka from another humiliating rout.

With all their players looking in fine touch, India will only have to guard against complacency.

India's resurgence has been largely due to a transformed Tendulkar, who returned to international cricket after an injury-induced six-month layoff and has batted in the same manner as he did seven-eight years ago.

Some of the strokes that he played in Nagpur and Mohali bore his individual stamp and many were executed with clear contempt for the bowlers.

Before he was laid low by the elbow injury in April his millions of fans, as well as experts, were disappointed that the former India captain had become too cautious.

But on his return to international cricket, the 32-year-old has looked spirited, rejuvenated and has restarted stepping out of the crease to play the lofted drive - one of his favourite and most productive shots that he had stopped executing. His innings of 93 and unbeaten 70 in the two matches had many such shots.

Tendulkar's and Dravid's form - and the fine batting by Virender Sehwag at Mohali - has not affected the team in the absence of Sourav Ganguly, the former captain who was anyway struggling with his form.

The selectors also acknowledged the fact that the squad is gelling well and have retained the 15 for the next three one-dayers at Jaipur, Pune (November 3) and Ahmedabad (November 6).

Apart from Tendulkar and Dravid, the other man looking in fine form is strike bowler Pathan.

Continuing his habit of giving India early breakthroughs, the left-armer removed dangerous Sanath Jayasuriya off the sixth ball of the innings in Mohali. Sri Lanka never recovered form that blow.

The other bowlers also gave a good account of themselves. Ajit Agarkar, Jai Prakash Yadav, Harbhajan Singh and Murali Kartik, who surprisingly replaced new pacer Sreesanth in Mohali without making any difference, all bowled well.

Sri Lanka need to improve in all aspects of the game, and their coach Tom Moody admitted after Mohali that it was poor batting that let the team down.

"The bottom line is that the batting has been well below par," said Moody, a former Australia player, after the humiliating defeat in the Mohali day-night game.

But he vowed to bounce back, and Dravid also said that to expect Sri Lanka take it lying down would be inviting trouble.

Teams:

India: Rahul Dravid (captain), Virender Sehwag (vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Y. Venugopal Rao, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Jai Prakash Yadav, Rudra Pratap Singh and Sreesanth

Sri Lanka: Marvan Atapattu (captain), Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wicket-keeper), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Chaminda Vaas, Upul Chandana, Farveez Maharoof, Russel Arnold, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Lokuhettige and Nuwan Zoysa.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021