ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

India v Australia, World Cup 2011, Ahmedabad

Mini-battles to light up Motera

There will be several smaller battles to add even greater spark to what is already an enthralling quarter-final clash between India and Australia in Ahmedabad

Nagraj Gollapudi in Ahmedabad

March 23, 2011

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Australia get off to a dream start as Brett Lee nails Sachin Tendulkar, Australia v India, 11th match, VB Series, Perth, February 1, 2004
Brett Lee and Sachin Tendulkar have engaged in some heated battles over the years, and will meet for the final time in World Cups in Ahmedabad Hamish Blair / © Getty Images
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Brett Lee v Sachin Tendulkar
Lee has always enjoyed jousting with Tendulkar. And why not - the Aussie has claimed Tendulkar's wicket nine times in ODIs, a record that he shares with Shaun Pollock and Chaminda Vaas. All modes of dismissal have been witnessed: bowled, caught, lbw, hit wicket. Lee has always smiled at the sight of Tendulkar, and considering this will probably be the last time both men face each other, he will bound in unafraid. The weapons of destruction, as in the past, will remain the same: bowling at maximum pace, Lee gets the ball to swing away, the length always full, and the short-pitched delivery as the surprise element to tempt Tendulkar to go for the uppercut or the pull. If Lee has never compromised on his strengths, Tendulkar has raised his batting to the level that he has desired. On the cusp of scoring his hundredth international century, Tendulkar will rely on the trusted weapons: a good eye, a wide array of shots, and a surfeit of patience and nerve. Considering that Ricky Ponting has bowled Lee in short bursts in this World Cup, and the fact that the endurance levels of both combatants match those of marathon runners, this mini contest is bound to build up to a crescendo in Ahmedabad.

Zaheer Khan v Shane Watson
Zaheer will angle the ball away. He will pitch the ball on a length and move it in. He will bowl an innocuous straighter delivery and cut the ball both ways - all this only to test if Watson is reading his mind. The Australian better be attentive, otherwise Zaheer is certain to overwhelm him with his cunning. These days Zaheer bowls with a sense of calm that makes a batsman uneasy. The look in his eye suggests that he knows exactly where he is going to pitch the ball, what the response will be and how he is going to trap his opponent. And like all good strike bowlers, he wants to snare the victim early. Watson likes width. There is great strength in his muscular frame and if a bowler hits a 'bowling machine length' he is murderous on the drive. But at times he does not get around his front pad quickly enough to avoid being trapped in front of the wicket. Zaheer will test him with different lengths. Australia need Watson to bat through most of the innings and lay a solid platform, and his biggest challenge will be to deny Zaheer the mental edge.

Virender Sehwag v Mitchell Johnson
Johnson believes in the McGrath formula of naming his target before hitting it. This is the second time in less than a year the Australian has riled Sehwag. Last year during the Test series he had Sehwag's measure - twice. Overall in one-dayers, the Australian has dismissed Sehwag four times giving away just 62 runs. Sehwag is coming back from an injury, having missed the previous match due to an inflammation of the knee, but he won't buckle and is bound to take Johnson on his word if he can get past the new-ball pair of Lee and Shaun Tait.

Ricky Ponting v Ricky Ponting
This is a battle with the self. The struggle is within Ponting. Probably it is also the ego - the Indian fast bowlers will pitch it short as soon as the Australian captain walks in. Trust Ponting to go for the pull or the hook. So far this World Cup, Ponting has not made any noise except when talking to the match officials. He says he is trying to spend time at the crease. But he is trying too hard. If he can start enjoying batting at the moment, he might find his way back.

Michael Clarke v the Indian spinners
First the numbers: Clarke has been dismissed only three times by Indian spinners (Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble and Virender Sehwag). He averages 117 and scores at 5.37 runs per over against Indian spinners. Doesn't that mean Clarke dominates the spinners? Yes and no. Clarke is no doubt a good player of spin, but increasingly he has been in two minds facing the Indian slow bowlers. Take Australia's tour of India last year. Then Clarke never spent enough time at the crease to find his feet. Instead he jumped out of the crease too quickly, too early and indecisively. Clarke is usually one of the few good batsmen who uses his feet smartly, but against India last year, he was doing so while simply trying to defend, thereby taking a risk that greatly outweighed the potential reward. Immediately the spinner knew he had him. What he needs to do now to is alternate playing both back and forward and use all of the crease. More than quick feet, it is quick thinking that will keep him safe.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 27 
Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (March 24, 2011, 10:50 GMT)

Ricky Ponting is winning against Ricky Ponting.

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (March 24, 2011, 10:13 GMT)

Best Fielding Vs Worst Fielding

Posted by   on (March 24, 2011, 8:32 GMT)

WHAT A BATTLE IS COMING TODAY. ( HEART BEATING MATCH)

Posted by Reidy86 on (March 24, 2011, 6:49 GMT)

"He will bowl an innocuous straighter delivery and cut the ball both ways - all this only to test if Watson is reading his mind. The Australian better be attentive, otherwise Zaheer is certain to overwhelm him with his cunning" - Sheesh! That's a fair wrap for a bloke who averages over 30 per wicket in test cricket! Zaheer is a reasonable bowler in an otherwise uninspiring Indian pace attack. Nothing more, nothing less...

Posted by MD82 on (March 24, 2011, 6:36 GMT)

You are missing Ricky v Harbhajan, if Bhajji dismisses Ricky early and that ends Oz's campaign then it may b Ricky's last appearance... Adieu & Bhajji's hand will be in it!!!

Posted by   on (March 24, 2011, 6:36 GMT)

No Doubt, Yuvaraj Singh is in tremendous form and he can score good amount of run against any bowler. But worried about Dhoni's batting.

Posted by   on (March 24, 2011, 5:18 GMT)

Opening will hold the key for both the teams

Posted by   on (March 24, 2011, 5:13 GMT)

Pray for India to win today

Posted by courierpost on (March 24, 2011, 5:08 GMT)

Ponting is due so lets enjoy the game

Posted by razz86 on (March 24, 2011, 3:30 GMT)

ricky ponting vs ricky ponting so true

Posted by   on (March 24, 2011, 3:16 GMT)

really an interesting game between india nd australia

Posted by ausfor4 on (March 24, 2011, 3:06 GMT)

Ricky ponting vs ricky ponting.....I love it:-)

Posted by ygkd on (March 24, 2011, 2:13 GMT)

Michael Clarke is a good player of spin in a team not renowned for it. But he's no Tendulkar. So I'll back the Indian spinners, even though they're not the Sri Lankans.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (March 24, 2011, 1:53 GMT)

Yup, A Battle of Two Legends (Sachin, Ponting), some Great Players ...and a non-fittiing Mitchell Johnson somewhere in the mix.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2011, 21:12 GMT)

Come on Sachin!!Its time to tame Brett Lee for the one last time!! Do it for us

Posted by ArviDivi on (March 23, 2011, 20:53 GMT)

Need to see a tight contest between Ashwin and Aus batsmen.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2011, 20:37 GMT)

Ponting Vs Ponting ..... GOOD ONE.

Posted by psh004 on (March 23, 2011, 16:59 GMT)

India must play the below team for a win against australia. Gambhir,Sehwag,Kohli,Sachin,Yuvraj,Dhoni,Raina,Harbhajan,Ashwin,Zaheer,Sreesanth. Sreesanth,Raina must be in the team as australian agression can be meet only with agressive players.Lazy players like munaf and nehra cannot do the job for india. Indian bowlers must try to take wickets rather than bowling defensively.

Sachin must bat down the order at number 4 to stabilise the middle order .He is a senior player and must show the responsibility and play the role which aravinda desilva played for sri lanka in 1996 world cup. He should play that role for the country and not for his records.

Posted by CricketpunditUSA on (March 23, 2011, 16:55 GMT)

What Tait vs over-rated Indian Middle Order batsmen -?? Yuvraj, Pathan and Raina??

Posted by   on (March 23, 2011, 16:24 GMT)

Ricky Ponting Vs Zaheer Khan may be last time in 2003, i guess we lost the plot in one of the zaheer's over now is the nice time for zaheer to pay back to the punter

Posted by   on (March 23, 2011, 16:11 GMT)

tomorrow lee will be fail

Posted by   on (March 23, 2011, 16:08 GMT)

Its Indian Team Vs Indian Team's Fear. If they conquer they will be victorious

Posted by   on (March 23, 2011, 15:50 GMT)

I personally think this worst Aussi side in last decade....but you cann't say who'll win that only bcoz of Indian bowler..... but here's good chance to win....play well boys..ZZAK & co...best of luck

Posted by Vilander on (March 23, 2011, 15:46 GMT)

some think tells me its a ricky ponting day, it would be the only think that would make indian exit acceptable.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2011, 15:02 GMT)

Australians will win easily. i Want india to put up a fight and not do like wut WI .

Posted by   on (March 23, 2011, 14:57 GMT)

India will Thrashed Australia nothing more to say

Posted by intcamd on (March 23, 2011, 14:40 GMT)

The QF is India's biggest threat. And that too against Aussies. If we can get past this, then perhaps we are in a good chance to win it all.

The Indian bowlers have been a collective disaster, barring ZaK. That Yuvraj is the 2nd best bowler so far speaks volumes. Time they stepped up to the plate.

If Sehwag does not play, a big blow to us, unfortunately, in a key game.

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