July 06 2020
A face-off with intriguing possibilities
13 February 2012

The Indians will hit the ground running at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday. Confidence is a wonderful attribute.

The Sri Lankans, seeking a win after two setbacks, need to find the fire within. Will they have the belief?

It will be a face-off with intriguing possibilities when the the two sides meet in a crucial Commonwealth Bank ODI. The contest could test the nerve of both sides as it stretches into the night.

One more win and India – presently with eight points from three matches – could be within striking distance of a place in the finals.

A team with four wins – each side plays eight matches in the league – stands a reasonable chance of making the best-of-three summit clashes.

For India, the good news is that the captain is back doing what he knows best. Yes, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is back donning the role of a finisher in tight games. Beneath his calm interior lurks a fierce competitor as the mighty final over six of Clint McKay on Sunday showed.

And when the skipper is in control, things can fall in place. Gautam Gambhir guided the side during a stiff chase with a wonderful blend of solidity and flair. It was a vital 92 from the southpaw.

But then, India needs to settle down as a winning unit and put an end to rotating the seniors in the top-order. The first three slots are critical in any line-up and shuffling the players here gives the team an unsettled look.

It is not a good sight when a different opening pair walk out each time – most teams would want a well entrenched combination. Then, if a batsman finds form and makes a sizable contribution, resting him from the next game could actually lead to the player losing his touch.

If one goes by the rotation formula, then Virender Sehwag will have to sit out of Tuesday's game. It will be a pity because the opener is striking the ball well and a big one could just be around the corner.

On the other hand, maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who appeared to have found his timing against the Sri Lankans in Perth, will have to get back into the groove again after missing a match.

Frankly, the idea of grooming youngsters for the 2015 World Cup when a tournament is to be won here, appears far-fetched. Sooner than later, the team-management will need to take a call on one of the youngsters.

Someone like the talented Rohit Sharma needs to consolidate on starts.

The Indians bowled and fielded with resolve against the Aussies. Umesh Yadav, with his effort, speed and thrust on a placid track was particularly impressive. With his strong shoulder and wrist, Yadav has been able to extract extra bounce here at the Adelaide Oval.

Of course, much of Indian's prospects will hinge on Zaheer Khan's rhythm and the impact of the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on the Sri Lankans. This said, Vinay Kumar, a seamer who makes the most of his ability, has chipped in as well.

The swift Indian running between the wickets put pressure on the Australians who were forced into making uncharacteristic mistakes.

Dhoni's men could try similar hustling tactics against the Sri Lankans.

For Sri Lanka, Lasith Malinga has to rediscover those scorching, swinging yorkers that make him such a lethal bowler. Is the use of two white balls, one from either end, hurting his reverse swing in the end overs?

Plenty of the side's prospects will ride on the versatile Angelo Matthews, such a compelling striker of the ball and an under-rated seamer with a mean off-cutter.

Sri Lanka has experience and quality in batting - men such as Tillakaratne Dilshan, skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara can be match-winners. And Dinesh Chandimal has immense potential. Yet, the Sri Lankans have not fired so far as a unit.

The Sri Lankans might be better off by including left-arm spinner Rangana Herath who can be useful on the track here. And left-arm paceman Chanaka Welegedara might lend some more bite and variety to the pace attack in batsmen-friendly conditions.

The Sri Lankans have to make the most of their resources and someone like Lahiru Thirimanne has not quite justified his spot in the eleven. If the Lankans want another pace-bowling all-round option, either Thisara Perera or Ferveez Maharoof could find a place.

The teams (from):

India: M.S. Dhoni (captain), S. Tendulkar, G. Gambhir, V. Kohli, R. Sharma, S. Raina, R. Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Z. Khan, V. Kumar, U. Yadav, S. Sehwag, Rahul Sharma, P. Kumar, I. Pathan, M. Tiwari, P. Patel.

Sri Lanka (from): M. Jayawardene (captain), T. Dilshan, U. Tharanga, K. Sangakkara, D. Chandimal, A. Mathews, T. Perera, N. Kulasekara, L. Malinga, R. Herath, S. Senanayake, C. Welegedara, D. Prasad, L. Thirumanne, F. Maharoof.

Play starts at 8.50 a.m. IST



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