India under pressure as Australia look to clinch series

November 7th, 2009 - 8:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Virender Sehwag Guwahati, Nov 7 (IANS) The narrow loss in Hyderabad pushed India on to the backfoot in the seven-match series as Australia took a 3-2 lead. Psychologically, the pressure is on the home team as they need to win the remaining two games to stop the visitors from clinching the series.
On the eve of the sixth match here at the Nehru Stadium there was a spring in the Australians’ steps. In one match the roles had been reversed. At Hyderabad, India looked like pulling it off as the Australians just about managed to put up 11 fit men after all-rounder Moises Henriuqes became the fifth player to be ruled out of the series with an injury.

Fast bowler Clinton McKay, who was flown in as a replacement, shone on his debut with three wickets in the high-scoring game. The arrival of all-rounder Andrew McDonald gives Ricky Ponting better selection options.

Back-to-back defeats can be demoralising, but skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said that the team has put that behind. They have to forget the Hyderabad loss and correct some of the cardinal mistakes they made in the field as well as in batting.

A ‘fresh start’ is what Dhoni is looking for and will again look to Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar to give a rollicking start. The middle-order has been inconsistent, but Dhoni is not too worried and wants a big one from either Tendulkar or Sehwag.

It is the toss which may turn out to be the most crucial aspect of the game that starts at 8.30 a.m. Though curator Sunil Barua has promised a run feast, the ball should move around a bit in the first hour or so. But it is the fading light which is worrying the organisers. With day-light available till about 4.30 p.m., the organisers have kept the cut-off time at 4.10 pm and there is also a possibility of the Duckworth-Lewis Method coming into play if the game is not finished within the stipulated time.

Sensing a series-clincher here, Ponting would be again depending on his opening batsman Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh to repeat their Hyderabad show. Ponting is unlikely to change the winning combination and that means fast bowling spearhead Mitchell Johnson will have to sit out.

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