Zimbabwe look to wicket for salvation against India
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Zimbabwe look to wicket for salvation against India

Zimbabwe will put its faith in the wicket that helped Australia tame the vaunted Indian batting line-up.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2004 03:05 IST

Zimbabwe will put its faith in the wicket that helped Australian bowlers tame the vaunted Indian batting line-up when the two sides meet in their final triangular one-day series match in Perth on Tuesday.

The lively Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) ground wicket gave Australia's pace attack the edge it was looking for to bowl out a full-strength Indian side for just 203 off 49 overs on Sunday.

Zimbabwe, yet to win a match in the series, is desperate for a breakthrough win in its final game before heading home and is hoping the WACA wicket may help their cause against India.

Skipper Heath Streak said he would be putting his faith in pace bowler Andy Blignaut to break his side's series duck.

"He bowled well in his last outing here and we will be hoping for a bit more of that, he has not bowled to his ability this tour," Streak said.

"We are hoping this wicket will suit him the best and he can pull off a match-winning performance which he is capable of."

Zimbabwe does have some form at least on the Perth wicket, scoring their only victory on tour there last month with a narrow win over an experimental Australia A side.

The Zimbabweans went through their paces in the nets on Monday, with Streak shrugging off criticism that his bowlers didn't have enough genuine pace to make use of the wicket and trouble India.

"I think Andy Blignaut has been as quick as some of the others. He is up around the 140km/h mark and a few of us have been bowling as quick as (Australians) Brad Williams and Andy Bichel," he said.

Streak said injuries to batsmen Mark Vermeulen and Craig Wishart had played a significant part in his side's failure to make an impact in the series.

"It has been a tough tour so it would be good for us (to win), We have been close in the past three games but we have been unable to cross the line," he said.

Streak predicted India's batting line-up would make some adjustments to cope with the wicket after crumbling against Australia yesterday.

"They will be wanting to get some practice before the finals and we will be looking to leave the shores of Australia with at least one notch on our belt," he said.

Streak has personally been very successful in the limited overs competition, making 205 runs at an average of 68.33 and claiming 14 wickets at an average of 21.57.

But he said he would not bat up the order and called on his top order to provide a solid platform.

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly said his team would be taking the match seriously. "Every one-day game is a new game," he said.

The Indians will head to Melbourne after the match to prepare for Friday's first finals series clash with Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

A second match is scheduled for Sydney next Sunday with a third to be played in Brisbane on February 10, if the series hangs in the balance.

India (likely): Sourav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Rohan Gavaskar, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Murali Kartik, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Sanjay Bangar (12th man).

Zimbabwe (likely): Heath Streak (captain), Grant Flower, Tatenda Taibu, Blessing Mahwire, Stuart Carlisle, Sean Ervine, Dion Ebrahim, Vusi Sibanda, Andy Blignaut, Ray Price, Douglas Hondo, Travis Friend (12th man).

First Published: Feb 02, 2004 14:18 IST