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Indian batsmen need to rally: Ganguly

Indian batsmen would have to rediscover their hunger for making runs if they were to beat Australia in the finals, Ganguly said.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2004 01:21 IST

India's batsmen would have to rediscover their hunger for making runs if they were to going to beat a buoyant Australia in the finals of the triangular international one-day cricket series, their captain Sourav Ganguly said here on Saturday.

India will meet the Australians in the second match of the best-of-three finals series at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday after the home team took a 1-0 lead with a convincing seven-wicket win in Melbourne on Friday.

Ganguly said his players needed to dig deep but also noted that the tour had been long and tiring for India and it had already achieved some good results.

"It's been a pretty successful tour. You talk about Test cricket being the real cricket and we've done wonderfully," he said.

"We've lost this (first) final - it's been a one-sided final - but if you go through the rest of the series it's been pretty hardly-contested and I don't think any side who's been to Australia ... for the last three of four years have been able to put up such a show."

Ganguly said he might bat higher up the order again, where he's had the most success.

"I've scored my runs at the top and I'll soon be back at the top," he said.

The Australians believe they are peaking at the right time and pace bowler Brett Lee, who has had a dramatic return to form, has the Indian top order intimidated.

Lee returned to dominance over the batsmen when Australia played India in the final qualifying match on a lively wicket in Perth last Sunday, taking 3-22.

He and the rest of the Australian pace attack, comprising Jason Gillespie and Brad Williams, also had the Indians on the backfoot early during Friday's win over India in the first final.

"I really believe intimidatory bowling - Brett Lee consistently bowling 150km/h-plus has been a huge strength for our side. His aggressive style has really helped us out," opening batsman Matthew Hayden said Saturday.

"I'd be very surprised if you don't see Brett Lee steaming in tomorrow (Sunday) trying to bowl as quick as he can in front of his huge home crowd."

Hayden said a combination of Australia finally executing its bowling plan and India tiring at the end of a long tour had also helped the home side and he thought India might be feeling gun-shy after the past two matches against Australia.

"They've had an enormous run of form over the past three months and they've toughed it out over the last couple weeks ... they might be a little intimidated and let's hope so," he said.

"The Australian bowling line-up is an intimidating attack and if they're feeling that pressure and they're under the pump because of it, that's exactly where we want them to be."

Hayden admitted Australia had been coasting earlier in the one-day series but was now at top form for the finals.

"We're on fire at the moment, we're just clicking as a group," he said.

"I think Australians love the big games - it's a great atmosphere, we've got everything to play for and that's why we're lifting."

Hayden said Australia was keen to win the finals series 2-0 without playing a third match to earn a few days off before the Allan Border Medal cricket awards on Thursday and a flight to Sri Lanka for a Test series on Friday.

"We don't want to go into a third game," he said.

First Published: Feb 07, 2004 15:36 IST