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Mumbai without Tendulkar ready for Aussie clash

The much awaited Mumbai-Australia clash, has finally arrived at the CCI. The absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Ajit Agarkar has turned all the hype and hoopla into disappointment. Glen McGrath and Shane Warne will have to wait until the first Test at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai to have a go at the little master. Two seasons ago, Mark Taylor's Australians tasted a ten wicket defeat at the hands of Mumbai, at the same venue. Moreover, at the hands of the little champion Tendulkar. Tendulkar scored his maiden double century in that historic match. The entire tour kicked off from there in favour of India.

Former India wicketkeeper Samir Dighe will lead them into the game. Tendulkar's absence will have a grave mark on the result of the match, his replacement in the team is a man making a comeback after an absence of six months from domestic cricket. Southpaw Jatin Paranjpe will don the Mumbai cap to take on the tourists in place of the little master. Agarkar's replacement however, is a man very much in the best form of his career. Robin Morris has been in fine form in the Ranji One-Day games as well as the four day games for Mumbai. His batting average in the West Zone Ranji One-Day league was 108.

Mumbai's bowling attack will start with legspinner Sairaj Bahutule who is hopeful of being picked for the second Test. Medium pacer Swapnil Hazare has been included and so has Sriram Kannan, who gets a recall after a gap of three years. Left arm spinner Nilesh Kulkarni also has been called back to the squad for this crucial tie, he will be supported in the spin department by offspinner Ramesh Powar.

The Indian crowds will have their first glimpse of Mark Waugh, Glen McGrath and Shane Warne. All three players were rested in the previous game at Nagpur. Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer have made runs in the previous game, the latter having scored a century and the former two half-centuries. Opener Matthew Hayden looked calm and reserved in his stay at the crease so far. The classy Mark Waugh hunting for a double hundred on this tour will have a bat in this game.

All eyes will be on the wicket which looks flat and full of runs. In Tendulkar's absence, the middle order will revolve around Kambli. He is supported by Amol Muzumdar, Jatin Paranjpe and skipper Samir Dighe. A lot is at stake in this game for the hosts, the tourists will use this game to experiment with various bowling combinations. The Australian batsmen will also be keen to spend as much time as possible out in the middle.