Guwahati, Saturday, November 2, 2013
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India to rely on batsmen

 BANGALORE, Nov 1 (PTI): India will yet again rely on their batting firepower as they seek to clinch the one-day series against an equally-determined Australia when the two teams clash in the seventh and final match here tomorrow in what promises to be another high-scoring thriller.

After two successive washouts in Ranchi and Cuttak, India rebounded to level the series 2-2 in Nagpur with yet another superlative show by their batsmen, who chased down a mammoth 351-run target.

The incredible run chase brought back memories of India’s magnificent victory in Jaipur when they chased a stiff target of 360, achieving the second highest successful run chase ever in ODI history.

The bowlers of both the sides are under tremendous pressure on flat batting tracks as despite the two washouts, more than 2500 runs have been scored so far.

Even the score of 350 cannot be considered a cushion and tomorrow’s match is also likely to be another high-scoring tussle with the wicket at M Chinnaswamy stadium traditionally being a batting-friendly wicket.

The Indians, however, will find the going a little easier on the morrow as Australia’s pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson will sit out of the match as he is returning home to prepare for the Ashes.

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be hoping that his young teammates can maintain the tempo to turn the tables on the Australians who have won two seven-game series in the past against the hosts.

Among the batsmen, Virat Kohli and opener Shikhar Dhawan are the top-scorers for the hosts as they have batted brilliantly. Dhoni himself has been a solid batsmen in the middle-order.

Opener Rohit Sharma has also been instrumental in India’s good fight with his partnerships with Dhawan and the hosts would look forward to the openers to provide yet again a solid start.

Dhoni himself will be looking to repeat the Mohali performance where he scored a brilliant century to help India recover and post a challenging 300-plus total even as that was chased successfully by the visitors.

The worry for India is the middle-order where Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh are yet to come up with an innings of substance in this series and tomorrow is time for the two to make up for the earlier failures.

They have struggled against the pace and bounce extracted by Australian bowlers, especially Mitchell Johnson. Dhoni has the option of bringing in Ambati Rayadu but the Indian think tank may not want to tinker with the combination.

On the bowling front, the Indian bowlers’ economy rate has gone for a toss in the batting-friendly conditions. Off-spinner R Ashwin, who grabbed 29 wickets in the four-Test series against Australia in February-March, has taken some heavy punishment from the in-form Australian batsmen, especially by skipper George Bailey. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who played his first game at Nagpur, gave away 78 runs in 10 overs without taking a wicket.

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