India v Sri Lanka, Videocon Cup, 2nd ODI, Mohali October 27, 2005

The experiments are according to a plan - Dravid



On Friday Sachin Tendulkar becomes the second cricketer ever to play 350 ODIs © Getty Images

Once again the two captains remained tight-lipped about the composition of their respective teams when they spoke to the press ahead of the second one-day international at Mohali. Rahul Dravid, however, announced that Rudra Pratap Singh and Suresh Raina would miss out. Marvan Atapattu conceded that his team was considering making changes.

The one thing the two captains agreed on was that the dew factor could play a role in the game. "That's the talk going around," said Atapattu. "We have to think a bit differently about the personnel we will use, and there might be a change or two. I said at the start of the series that it will be a closely battled series and India deserved the Nagpur win, we were outplayed in all departments, but are confident of getting a win here."

Dravid made it clear that India were not idly experimenting with the composition of the team or the batting order. "It's not experimenting for the sake of it," he said. "We carry out plans that we think will be good for a particular match, and sometimes, we have the long-term picture in mind as well. I will say we might do things differently or we might not, but our main aim is to try and win every match, and there will be no compromise in that regard."

Both sides have something to think about when it comes to the opening batting combination, and Dravid said that Virender Sehwag's lack of form did not worry him. "He's batting really well, looking good in the nets," said Dravid. "I am not really concerned about his form. He is due for a big one. He made a good 70 in the one-day final in Zimbabwe not too long back and another good 70 in the Super Test. Obviously we would like him to convert his starts and he too would like to, but I strongly believe he is just one match away from a big knock."

Atapattu revealed that Sri Lanka were considering opening the batting with Kumar Sangakkara, who tackled the medium-pacers with aplomb, and used the fielding restrictions to good effect in Nagpur. "The way he batted in Nagpur, as well as in the Super Series in Australia, gives us the option of giving him the chance to open the batting."

Dravid once again had a good word for Sachin Tendulkar, who is all set to play his 350th ODI tomorrow. "It's a phenomenal achievement and I hope he goes on to play a lot more matches," said Dravid. "He is only 32, and I know he doesn't place a lot of importance on numbers, but 350 games is something to be proud of."

Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo