Bangladesh v India, 2nd ODI, Asia Cup, Dambulla

Seamless return for India's injured

Siddarth Ravindran in Dambulla

June 16, 2010

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Gautam Gambhir plays one fine, Bangladesh v India, 2nd ODI, Asia Cup, Dambulla, June 16, 2010
Gautam Gambhir wasn't at his best and had to work hard for his 82 © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Gautam Gambhir
Series/Tournaments: Asia Cup
Teams: India

After Tuesday's hard-fought tournament opener, the second match turned into another chapter of the Asia Cup's long history of one-sided encounters. India won't be complaining though after a hassle-free victory over Bangladesh in a match in which they welcomed seven regulars back to the XI.

Sterner tests lie in wait but the Indian management will be satisfied that three players returning from injuries - Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar and Virender Sehwag - didn't show any fitness trouble. Zaheer and Praveen had some problems early on against the rampant Bangladesh openers, but recovered after the brief onslaught. Sehwag, in fact, had shrugged off his shoulder worries so much that he wiped out the Bangladesh tail to finish with career-best figures.

Once the bowlers had done the job, Gautam Gambhir orchestrated the chase with another sensible innings that was more about placement than power. A strike-rate of 80 is pedestrian in most one-dayers these days, but with a tiny target on a track which wasn't tailor-made for batting, it was sufficient.

Gambhir said it took a while to switch to one-day pace after playing months of Twenty20. "When you are in Twenty20 mode you want to really hit the ball and these aren't the conditions for that," he said. "You have to graft your way through, and initially I was thinking of hitting the ball before I realised I have 50 overs, and not 20, to play."

Another factor to which the players must adjust to in Dambulla is the slightly dim floodlights, which Lasith Malinga talked about on Tuesday and MS Dhoni commented on after today's game. India will be thankful their batsmen got their first chance to play under lights when the requirements for a win weren't taxing. Adding to the floodlight trouble is the fact that it gets harder to bat as the match progresses.

"If you saw the last game also, the ball does a lot more [under lights] than in the afternoon," Gambhir said, "the kind of atmosphere here, the kind of breeze and kind of wickets here, it would definitely do a lot, anything around 250-260 will be a very good total on this track."

India's job was made easier by an all-too-familiar Bangladesh collapse after the top-order had galloped to 77 for 1 after 13 overs. There was a rash of bad strokes, but the Indian spinners were spot on as well. "It [bowling Bangladesh out cheaply] was the prefect platform for the top-order batsman to just go out there, get used to the wicket, get used to the conditions, and try and play a long innings," Gambhir said.

The win also came as a relief after the dismal World Twenty20 campaign and the embarrassing defeats in Zimbabwe and Gambhir credited the break for refreshing him. "You come back fresh, you forget what happened at the World Twenty20, you have more energy and you are more eager to perform." Also, victory with the bonus point reduces the pressure to win in the high-profile match coming up against Pakistan, who can't afford another defeat after the opening-day defeat.

It wasn't all hunky-dory for India though. Gambhir wasn't near his best, and the finish could have been more interesting had Tamim hung on to a catch at third man off Gambhir soon after Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were dismissed off successive deliveries. The ever-dependable Dhoni saw India through, but the youngsters missed out on a chance to get used to unfamiliar conditions. The pace department also needs improvement, though Zaheer was hostile in his second spell

Dhoni and his boys will face far tougher challenges in the rest of the tournament but they will be pleased to have not stumbled at the first hurdle.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by rohanahuja on (June 19, 2010, 18:07 GMT)

@Here2rock INDIA great minnows?You must be joking!Remember India lost border-gavaskar series in 2007 because of sydney umpiring

Posted by SrikanthKeshav on (June 17, 2010, 21:37 GMT)

@Lava_Ind

Ur stats are from test matches abroad.. Test players in indian team are really good.. no doubt.. Pls look into the current ODI team and name one player other than sehwag who can play well on alien conditions.. One can easily say that indian ODI team will not even come close to a series win in Newzealand or England... India have their best chance of winning a world cup rite now since its being played in the sub-continent...

Posted by   on (June 17, 2010, 18:07 GMT)

@AsherCA - Wasn't it Nehra who took the all important successive wickets, that of Imrul Kayes and Mohammad Ashraful which saw the downfall of Bangladesh's batting? And wasnt it Zaheer who like in the 2003 world cup and like on so many other occasions give away 16 runs in his first over. Zaheer Khan is the most overrated Indian bowler. His figures look better because he has played a lot of games in the era when a 400 plus total was unimaginable. He averages 48.41 since 2009 while PK and Nehra average 31 and 33 respectively. His rpo is in almost 6 since 2009 much higher than PK and almost equvalent to Nehra. He fails on both the counts of Average and Economy and we expect him to ''Mentor'' young players. They are surely better off without his mentoring.

Posted by amir-test-cricket on (June 17, 2010, 15:44 GMT)

@ AndyZaltzmannsHair ... "Virender Sehwag will blow away the Pakistani's with a mesmerizing spell of 7/23. I believe new ball duties should now be transferred over to him. If he can open the batting why not the bowling? "

talk sense mate ... i mean ... 7/23... opening the bowling .... WOW ...

Posted by AsherCA on (June 17, 2010, 14:25 GMT)

India's win is more remarkable on account of an entity called Ashish Nehra in the Indian team - he can't bat, cant field, bowls sometimes. His only contributions in the last several games have been run-donating, overs at the start of the opposition innings, resulting in well-set, confident batsmen facing Indian Spinners, at least one of whom is a part-time bowler. Jadeja suffered the bulk of Nehra's mess-ups in Zimbabwe. If Nehra bowls 3 / 4 overs for 25 - 30 runs against SL / Pak over the next few days, their batsmen being better than Zimbabwe will not give him free wickets. They will take heavy toll of India's part-timers, Nehra will improve his figures with one / two wickets in the slog overs & retain his position to continue beating India. I wonder what Nehra does to retain his position in the Indian team & prevent media from questioning his selection, in spite of such consistent match-losing performances.

Posted by provash on (June 17, 2010, 13:45 GMT)

Over the last few matches, it seems to me, Bangladesh becomes over-defensive after the departure of Tamim Iqbal... the opponents increase the pressure, pin them down, and the collapse accelerates... May be the only way out is to counter-attack irrespective of whethe a couple of more wickets fell... another thing they should bring a number of tail-enders up the order....because the psychological factors of losing key batsman early are quite clear..

Posted by spiritwithin on (June 17, 2010, 12:26 GMT)

@here2rock...and on da same lively tracks of england the indian team did'nt lost a test series since 1996 and performed admirably in australia in da last two tours..and da lifeless concrete track is same for both da teams,so how come baring SA all other teams struggles in india,or d u forget how ruthlessly england were thumped by india in both tests and ODI in their last tour to india,mayb england r minnows too??or is it that only fast pitches where ur teams r comfortable r qualified as lively pitches whereas tracks in india where even mighty s.waugh's invincible struggles were lifeless pitch??winning in india for other team is as important as winning in aus,SA or eng or pak etc.,let da current eng,aus or SA team win a series here and than talk

Posted by vikicork on (June 17, 2010, 12:04 GMT)

I did watch the game and saw Bangladeshi opener miss balls against Zaheer

Im not going on this match alone but last several matches that Zaheer has played including T20 ,he just dosent seem that effective and gives away too many runs

Irfan would be a better option

Posted by indnumerouno on (June 17, 2010, 11:49 GMT)

eliya abbas is true .........zaheer was unplayable after first over.......he was the best and praveen got kayes to french cut (edge past the stumps once).......he was second best after zaheer..........

Posted by Jama on (June 17, 2010, 11:18 GMT)

I started watching cricket in 1996 because of Sachin Tendulkar. He is the best. Sehwag is another player whom i admire the most. Rest of the indian team is just a fluke. They can only play well in the dead subcontinent tracks. Sachin and Sehwag are the only 2 players who can dismantle any bowling attack in any part of the world. I might as well stop watching cricket when Sachin retires and i hope he plays 2 more world cups. Rest of the team is scared of quality fast bowling.

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