VB Series: India return to full strength

India would return to near full strength when they take on world champions Australia in a dry run, before the finals of the triangular series, at the WACA.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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India would return to near full strength when they take on world champions Australia in a dry run, before the finals of the triangular series, at the WACA tomorrow. Top guns Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag will resume their opening stand that fetched them two century stands in as many matches before injury intervened. So is the case with Yuvraj Singh, who is back after missing a game because of ear infection. Kumble out Still, the regular breakdown of cricketers could not have passed without taking a toll as Anil Kumble is surely out for the remaining two league games, as well as probably for the finals. Kumble's absence is a boon for left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, who would be persisted with tomorrow. He has a good chance of staying in for the best-of-three finals. Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has confirmed his faith in Kartik and supported the presence of at least one specialist spinner in the tourists' eleven. "Kartik played well in that truncated game in Sydney. He probably wouldn't have got that chance if Kumble was fit r him to make the most of it. The bounce in the wicket will also support him," he said. "Every team needs a spinner otherwise the attack gets one-dimensional. Spinners get wickets in Australia. Whenever you look at the scoreboard from the dressing room, there's a mention of a good spinner's haul. There's a huge, huge place for a genuine spinner," Ganguly said. Pace attack Amidst all the injury blows, VVS Laxman has been like a rock of Gibraltar and his three hundreds in one week have literally induced the fear of god among bowlers. With Kartik in the team, and Ajit Agarkar and Irfan Pathan assured of their berths, the 11th member's place in the side will be contested between Ashish Nehra and Laxmipathy Balaji. Such has been the sign of times that Nehra, once a regular bearer of new ball, cannot be seen as an automatic starter in tomorrow's game. Both India and Australia are in the finals though the latter has a 2-1 advantage over the tourists in the league phase, which Ganguly's men are looking to rectify. Ponting rested The line-up of both the sides has been fiddled around a bit in the last couple of weeks because of their rotation policy. Australia's regular captain Ricky Ponting has been rested in this game but Adam Gilchrist returns after being given a break from the squad in the last couple of games. So is the case with pacer Jason Gillespie who did not play in the last two games against Zimbabwe, but has now been pressed into service. Gilchrist confirmed David Hussey, the 29-year-old Western Australian cricketer, would be making his international debut in front of home crowd. He as well as Katich will come in place of Ponting and an injured Michael Bevan. Hussey's look in Hussey has been a remarkable cricketer in domestic cricket for Australia for years now. He had an outstanding debut session in county cricket in 2001 when he amassed 2055 first class runs, including 329 in one innings against Essex for Northamptonshire. A qualified school-teacher, Hussey's batting comes with the added benefit of both leg-spin and medium-pace in his cricketing armoury. Hussey has been around for long, scoring over 12,000 runs in nine seasons for Western Australia. He has more than 5000 runs in 146 one-day games, as well. Except for Hussey, Australia too are not looking for too many experiments in their line-up. Gillespie, Brett Lee and Brad Williams would be thrown at the Indians in what still is a fairly quick WACA track. The curator of the ground, though, was promising a score in the vicinity of 280-290 for the batsmen. (PTI)