India face Australia in first tri-series final

March 1st, 2008 - 6:48 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

Sydney, March 1 (IANS) Off-field controversies will finally take a backseat as India will rely on their young guns in an attempt to wrest the advantage in the first of the best-of-three finals against Australia in the Commonwealth Bank cricket tri-series at the Sydney Cricket ground here Sunday. The summer Down Under has been marred by ugly spats between the two teams and Indians will be keen to fire themselves up after Matthew Hayden’s “obnoxious little weed” comment on Harbhajan Singh hogged the limelight in the last few days.

The war-of-words has set up a thrilling contest, though beating world champions Australia in their own den would be a tough ask for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s young outfit.

Australia will not make the mistake of taking the Indian team lightly as the visitors have shown intent in the league encounters.

Ausralia have beaten India twice, lost once while the first match ended in a washout. But with the hosts beaten by Sri Lanka in the last league match, their confidence is certainly not sky-high going into the first final and India will be looking to cash on it.

The problem for both teams has been their fragile batting order that has cracked under pressure time and again in the series.

India’s main concern will be the opening combination as Sachin Tendulkar has partnered three different batsmen in the series so far. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa have all opened with Tendulkar and it will be interesting to see who skipper Dhoni prefers in the crucial match.

Australia’s top-order has not displayed the consistency that they are known for and has lost wickets in heaps. India will certainly want their
fast bowlers Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan to rattle the Australian top-order Sunday.

But despite Australian batsmen not being at their peak, they have managed convincing victories in the series, which reflects the strength of the side.

Brett Lee has truly been Australia’s bowling spearhead in the summer and together with Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Bracken and James Hopes, their bowling has done the dominant force in the league matches.

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicketkeeper), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma and S. Sreesanth

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist (vice-captain/wicketkeeper), Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hogg, James Hopes, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds

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