Tendulkar back as India series win in Bangalore

November 22, 2008


Bangalore: Riding high on their new found confidence, India are all set to wrap up the seven-match one-day series against a struggling England in Bangalore itself when the two teams clash in the fourth match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here.

The Indian side has gained more teeth in both batting and bowling with the inclusion of batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and all-rounder Irfan Pathan. However, the team management will find it difficult to choose the playing eleven with all the youngsters putting up decent performances.

Though the playing eleven of both the teams will be picked on match day, the Indians are likely to include both Tendulkar and Pathan in place of Rohit Sharma and RP Singh, who was left out of the squad.

As far as Kevin Pietersen and company are concerned they will have an additional headache of coping with Tendulkar apart from in-form batsmen like Yuvraj Singh and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.

Harbhajan Singh, who joined the 200-wicket club in ODIs at Kanpur – and seamers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma are in wicket-taking form backed up by part-timers Yuvraj and Sehwag threatening to run down the rival batting with crucial spells. And England’s misery seems to be mounting despite unseasonal rains, which lashed the city on Saturday, threatening to disrupt the match.

The Indians in all probability will prefer opening the batting with the set pair of Gambhir and Sehwag even though the likelihood of Tendulkar opening cannot be ruled out completely. Suresh Raina will be an automatic choice for the one-down position while Tendulkar (if he does not open), Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni to follow.

The two Pathan brothers – Yusuf and Irfan – will fill up the lower order slots followed by the three specialist bowlers as Dhoni has made it very clear that his first priority would be to win the series before thinking of experimenting with the bench strength.

The youthful Indian side seems to match any team in the world, with the seniors setting a fine example. India’s fielding has caught the imagination and the strong batting line-up backed up by penetrative bowling certainly makes the hosts hot favourites, weather permitting.

The tourists are struggling in every department barring a couple of individual performances. Captain Kevin Pietersen would be looking forward to a solid start from openers Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara with their third option Alastair Cook forced to warm the bench. Bell, Bopara and Owais Shah have got starts but have not really gone on to get big scores.

Another option the England skipper would be eyeing is to promote the free-stroking Owais Shah, who batted confidently in Kanpur, up the order as seniors Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior and himself have struggled for runs so far.

Their bowling too has not been up to the mark especially with Ryan Sidebottom still not at his peak and young Stuart Broad bowling well but not finding the desired support from the fielders.

Unfortunately for the tourists their two spinners – Samit Patel and Graeme Swann – have not made any impression on the Indian batsmen so far and only an exceptional performance from either of them can turn their team’s fortune.

The teams:

India (from): MS Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag (vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan.

England (from): Kevin Pietersen (captain), JamesAnderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, Samit Patel, Matt Prior, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright and Tim Ambrose.

Umpires: Russel Tiffin and Suresh Shastri. Third umpire: Amish Saheba.

Match Referee: Roshan Mahanama.


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