Australia v India, Commonwealth Bank Series, Sydney

Embattled India on the brink

The Preview by Siddarth Ravindran

February 25, 2012

Comments: 177 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

February 26, Sydney
Start time 1420 (0320 GMT)


Virender Sehwag was out for a duck, India v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Brisbane, February 21, 2012
India will hope Virender Sehwag can shrug off his recent troubles © Getty Images
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Big Picture

India are usually known to be slow starters, but in the CB series, they were top of the table at the halfway stage. A week later, India are now sliding towards the exit. Not only have they lost their previous two matches, there has been plenty of off-field drama as well.

"Rift" and "communication breakdown" are the words dominating India's sports pages over the past few days, with board officials reverting to the usual "he was misquoted" refrain to try to douse the controversy. The Indian media manager addressed the press to ostensibly bring clarity on the matter, though the mantra of that session was "let's look ahead and forget about the past".

With India most likely needing to win both their remaining matches to qualify, their rotation policy is being shelved. All three of their experienced batsmen - Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir - are set to feature despite MS Dhoni's now famous claims that playing all three together would cost the team 20 runs in the field. Dhoni himself will return from a one-match suspension, adding steel to the listless lower middle-order.

Australia, on the other hand, have had far fewer problems in giving their youngsters opportunities. Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin have been eased out of the side, and their place has been taken by Peter Forrest and Matthew Wade. They have an easier route to the final as well, with one win guaranteeing them qualification.

Form guide

Australia LWLLW (Most recent first)
India LLTWW

In the spotlight

India's death bowling has cost them dearly in the last couple of matches: 101 against Australia at the Gabba when Dan Christian and David Hussey took them apart; 91 against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, when Virender Sehwag decided to use Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli for the final two overs instead of the specialists. Who will Dhoni turn to on Sunday?

David Warner had a glorious Test summer, defying critics with his strong performances at the top of the order. His one-day form has been less bright - he has still to make a half-century after eight matches. With Shane Watson returning to full fitness, Warner has had to give up the vice-captain's spot. He might give up a place in the XI as well, if he doesn't provide the selectors another reminder of his explosive ability.

Team news

The main question for Australia to ponder is how to accommodate Watson in the XI. One of David Warner and Daniel Christian will have to make way if Watson is to play his first home game of the summer. Michael Clarke pulled up with a stiff back against Sri Lanka when he scored a half-century. He expected to be ready for Sunday's game, but if he pulls out, Watson could be captaining Australia in his comeback game. The other change the hosts may consider is bringing in Clint McKay for Ryan Harris, who was feeling his knee rather gingerly after taking a tumble while fielding against Sri Lanka on Friday.

Australia (possible) 1 David Warner, 2 Matthew Wade (wk), 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 Peter Forrest, 5 Michael Hussey, 6 David Hussey, 7 Daniel Christian/Shane Watson, 8 Brett Lee, 9 Clint McKay/Ryan Harris, 10 Xavier Doherty, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus.

India are missing their most experienced bowler, Zaheer Khan, to a calf injury, while a hamstring problem is likely to sideline their regular new-ball bowler Vinay Kumar. That means Praveen Kumar, a revelation during the CB series four years ago, will return to the XI.

India (possible) 1 Sachin Tendulkar, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Irfan Pathan, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Praveen Kumar, 11 Umesh Yadav.

Pitch and conditions

The only match of this series in Sydney proved to be a low-scoring encounter with Sri Lanka's medium-pacers dismantling Australia. Sunday is expected to be a pleasant day for cricket, with a maximum temperature of 29C.

Stats and trivia

  • India had lost all 11 of their ODIs against Australia at the SCG, before beating them in the 2007-08 CB series final
  • Over the past 12 months, Dhoni averages 80 in ODIs, at a strike-rate of 89.97

Quotes

"It [yesterday's result] has made the calculation easier. Rather than thinking of anything else, we need to win games. How we win is not really important."
MS Dhoni looks ahead to the final leg of the league phase

Edited by Nikita Bastian

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by lankanlioncric on (February 26, 2012, 4:09 GMT)

indians' comments r always concentrated on BATTING, dont they know there r 2 other departments which r BOWLING N FIELDING?????

Posted by prakash_mishra on (February 26, 2012, 3:16 GMT)

@arshad817,Hahaha I liked your sense of humour brothers,I expect them to see when India is in Australia to play WC 2015.For today I am literally hopeless with this side,Jadeja is such a disappointment.He is supposedly the spinning allrounder,but why not Yusuf?? At least he has ability to turn the match around by himself.Zaheer is missing,or atleast even to give it a shot my XI would be- Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli, Tendulkar, Raina/Tiwari, Dhoni, Pathan, Ashwin,P.Kumar,Khan,Rahul Sharma. Atleast this combination can be tried out according to me,I still feel Since Rahul Sharma is new on the scene, He can provide some difficulty to Vulnerable Australian batsmen like Warner,Christian etc.P.Kumar can be given opportunity as he always keeps on trying to bowl at his best, better than Yadav who uses no brain of his(I suspect he has one), Sehwag is the best option to open, and only reason i root for Tendy at no.4 is because that will allow kohli to bat freely and accumulate few runs.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

to we must won this game to enter the final we must need good patnership

Posted by Dbatsman on (February 26, 2012, 3:05 GMT)

V Sehwag, SR Tendulkar, G Gambhir, V Kohli, SK Raina, MS Dhoni*†, RA Jadeja, IK Pathan, R Ashwin, P Kumar, UT Yadav this does not seems like indias best 11

Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 2:58 GMT)

i personally dun know what exactly is ravindra jadeja is in the team for ????????????? rili ashwin can bowl better than him .. irfan can bat better than him ..... why do we need him .. every time he comes in , he anyways only eats up deliveries and puts us under more pressure .. please get rid of him , and we will be a much better side .... look at the side in the world cup .... that was a winning combination .. we dun have yuvraj .... but ravindra is by no means consolidating him in ANYYYY way ...... by far ... may be rohit sharma can be in for him .. or someone else who can deliver ..

Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 2:47 GMT)

@Puneet Mahajan - Sl was humiliated in pakistan and SA.. then what can u call getting trashed 4-0 to england and 4-0 the aussies.??

Posted by Tramadol on (February 26, 2012, 2:37 GMT)

My gut feeling is that Dhoni is just complicating a simple game. He is thinking too much - about world cup 2015 of which he himself is uncertain to play. I always feel that any Team should field its best possible 11 all the time no matter what - yes a little bit of giving chance to the so-called youngsters can be done if and when your team is secured to play in the semi-finals or finals. Dhoni's statements have been self contradictory throughout the CB Series to say the least and we all know that so no point stating those points once again. In the first match ofthe CB series I mentioned that Irfan is a much much better option at No. 7 in Australia or anywhere for that matter and certainly if your other option is Jadeja...he has done nothing in this entire series .... by only fielding you cannot book a place in any side. My first XI would be simply without thinking much for today - Sachin, Sehwag, Gautam, Dhoni, Tiwari, Raina, Irfan, Ashwin, Rahul Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Zaheer/Umesh

Posted by gayansumeera2 on (February 26, 2012, 2:37 GMT)

@wellwisherindia After lossing the toss in the WC final 2012 and winning the match after is also the " BAD LUCK"? Luck isn't the actual problem here,it's only batting problems that india having outside the sub continent.They haven't prepared for the short pitched deliveries much and with their weaken fielding and bowling batting problems is being expressing too much.

Posted by cosmos_kapil on (February 26, 2012, 2:34 GMT)

Not to go too far we witnessed two days ago how Mahela, the very senior member of the side laid down the foundation of big chase. He not only bats but bats with the requirement and match his runs with ball. No doubt SL young guns played their part too but I want to point out the role of seniors in the team. No doubt SL suddenly changed with the inclusion of Parera and Mahroof but their batting triggers with Mahela stepped up to open. Does our seniors shuffle their positions? In Australia also we witnessed the performance of Clarke and Mike Hussey and their are bettering themselves with age. No doubt they have Forrest and two David's with them, but it always the role of seniors which influence the youngsters. Not only this they axed Ponting who is not improving at the moment and certainly will not be a future's part. I think with that record he could have played for India for another 20-25 years.

Posted by cosmos_kapil on (February 26, 2012, 2:20 GMT)

However the 'horrible' performance team India has put in since December apart from some over average individual performances doesn't left too much hope, but as there is still a ray of hope left for them to rub some ointments on their wounds. Though the captain has to stick with the players on his side regardless of their performance which can't be 'poor to best' overnight, he still can do something. I think India should now leave behind its rotation policy for a time being and should come up with best available players, and though rotation of players didn't proved fruitful I think rotation in batting and bowling orders could do. Not only acting captain Sehwag but but captain 'cool' himself seems to be without plan when we saw Zaheer's quota has been finished in 40 overs, to bowl part timers for the last two proved to be a gag. Even in batting order we saw Pathan's skill wasted, not only him I think Jadeja's also. So India could do something if the shuffle the orders.

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