India v Sri Lanka, Group B, Trinidad March 22, 2007

Toss will be vital, reckons Moody

Cricinfo staff



Tom Moody: 'It is not an easy one [pitch] to adapt to, but we have done that with both bat and ball, gotten over some tricky hurdles' © Getty Images

Tom Moody, the former Australian batsman who's currently coaching Sri Lanka, has said the toss could turn out to be a vital factor in Friday's crucial clash against India at Port-of-Spain. He added that his side wouldn't take the game lightly, especially since the result would have a bearing on carrying forward points to the Super Eight stage.

"The toss will be important, particularly given that the teams are evenly matched," Moody said, taking into account a bout of showers that had washed the Queen's Park Oval on match eve. "You can get away with losing the toss against a team not as good as you are, but in a game like this, the toss may be pretty important. We want to see the overhead conditions and the wicket before we decide on the final combination. There has been a bit of rain today and that may have a bit of a bearing, but I really can't see massive changes to the side."

Moody was glad that his batsmen had adapted well to the sluggish Trinidad pitch, something which couldn't be said of India's batsmen in their opening match against Bangladesh. "We have had two good games, and are looking forward to finishing off positively. There is a lot of confidence within the team, and the one big advantage we have is that we have played good cricket on this wicket. It is not an easy one to adapt to, but we have done that with both bat and ball, gotten over some tricky hurdles."

."It is not about India, as far as we are concerned. It's about Sri Lanka, and what we can take out of this game. It is the biggest game of the competition so far for Sri Lanka. We need to carry forward points to the next stage, and whether it is at the expense of India is not important."

As India's team management pondered over their spin-bowling options for the game, Moody felt that Anil Kumble, a bowler who's gone wicketless in his last four matches against them, might be a bigger threat than Harbhajan Singh, the offspinner. "We have all played Harbhajan over the last two years in both Test and one-day cricket on a pretty regular basis. India might even play both their spinners. It is going to be a challenge. Kumble is a wonderful, experienced bowler and he had a very good game against Bermuda. He will perhaps provide a greater challenge."

India's captain Rahul Dravid's didn't buy the argument about Sri Lanka being the favourites. "I don't think we are weaker than Sri Lanka in any department. We are evenly matched sides and it will depend on who plays well on the given day. It will be a little different playing them at a neutral venue, but we have played them 10-12 times in the last one and a half years and both sides know the strengths and weaknesses of each other. We have done well in the past against them in neutral venues, like in the 1999 and 2003 World Cups, and we can take confidence from those games."

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