India out to stop Australian juggernaut
India are eagerly looking forward to put behind their two successive defeats in the TVS tri-series.Updated: Nov 11, 2003 14:55 IST
Bolstered by the return of skipper Sourav Ganguly, India are eagerly looking forward to put behind their two successive defeats in the cricket tri-series and stop the Australian juggernaut in the crucial day-night match here on Wednesday.
Ganguly's return to the side after a four-week injury lay-off should be a big morale-booster for India, sulking after two consecutive defeats to Australia in Mumbai and New Zealand in Cuttack.
India's roller-coaster show in the tri-series means the hosts are now in a perform-or-perish situation.
Though the outcome of Wednesday's day-night match would not decide as to who would cross swords with Australia in the summit clash in Kolkata on November 18, a victory for India would certainly ease the enormous pressure ahead of their last league match against New Zealand on Saturday.
Australia are sitting pretty atop the points table with 23 points, courtesy one defeat and four wins in a row. The Black Caps have 10 from five league engagements while India are on nine from four outings.
In view of this and bonus points also coming into play, the India-New Zealand encounter in Hyderabad has turned out to be a semi-final of sorts.
But before India can even think about the Hyderabad match, they have to find out ways to overcome the Australian hurdle on wednesday.
Ganguly, itching to have a go after missing quite a bit of action, has urged his teammates to "fire" as a team and find their bearings again in the tournament, taking heart from the fact that they did beat the world champions in their first exchange at Gwalior.
"We have beaten them (Australia) in Gwalior and hope to do well again," Ganguly said.
The other point in India's favour is that they will be able to field a near full-strength team tomorrow. Opener Virender Sehwag, who missed the Cuttack match due to an ankle injury, Zaheer Khan (chest infection) and Harbhajan Singh (finger) are all expected to take the field, with a chance also that Ashish Nehra may be fielded for the first time in the tri-series.
First Published: Nov 11, 2003 13:20 IST