Uphill for India
Stats preview to the CB Series finals between Australia and India
Andrew Symonds averages 50.25 in the triangular series finals at home
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India have managed to put it across Sri Lanka and make it to the finals of the CB Series, but a much tougher task awaits them over the next few days. Not only will they have to overcome a strong Australian side - who, admittedly, have struggled a fair bit themselves in this tournament - but also their dismal record
in finals. In the last nine years, India have featured in 21 such ODIs, and have only won once, when they beat England in the 2002 NatWest Series at Lord's. Australia, on the other hand, have relished the big occasion, winning 19 of their last 24 matches
in finals. Their only three losses have come against England - twice, in the CB Series last season - and against Sri Lanka in the first final in 2005-06.
Australia's record in finals of the triangular tournament at home is equally imposing: on the last 11 occasions when they have reached the finals, dating back to the 1993-94 season, they have won 20 out of 25 matches
, and ten out of 11 titles. Of their five defeats, four came in the first final, but on three of those occasions - twice against South Africa and once against Sri Lanka - they went on to win the next two and win the tournament. The only team to deny them the championship during this period was England, who won two in a row to claim the crown last season.
Andrew Symonds has had a quiet series so far, but it might be the proverbial lull before a shower of runs: Symonds has shown a particular liking to the triangular finals at home, scoring 402 runs at an average of 50.25
, well above his career ODI average of 39.76. Matthew Hayden is the other Australian batsman with a 50-plus average
in these finals; for Ricky Ponting
and Adam Gilchrist
, the numbers are much closer to their career stats.
Sachin Tendulkar showed signs of shrugging off his poor run with a glorious 63 against Sri Lanka in Hobart, and the CB Series finals might be his last chance to score an ODI century in Australia - in 38 matches
in this country, he averages 32.57, with nine fifties but no hundred. In the 36 finals
he has played so far his average is an impressive 47.96, but in his last 14 finals, the stats are quite ordinary: only 310 runs at 25.83.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo