Vadodara:The fifth ODI between India and Australia in Vadodara today will be Sachin Tendulkar's 400th one-day international.
Tendulkar downplayed the milestone saying the number that matters to him is a 2-2 scoreline in the series.
Tendulkar has seven one day hundreds against Australia and a terrific record. So the thought that he could play even 500 one dayers was perhaps not so appetising for Australian Captain Ricky Ponting.
"500? The amount of cricket that we are playing these days; its just one season! But, frankly, it depends on his body. If he lasts till the 2011 World Cup, he might as well play 500 ODIs," Ponting said.
Milestones apart, at stake in Vadodara is the chance for India to level it at 2-2 or for Australia to take a 3-1 lead.
"It is the biggest game for us in the series. Last game was a terrific game of cricket, Indians really played well. The series is alive again. This is like a final for us. We are building it up that way and generally when the bigger games come around, the Australians play their best cricket," a confident Ponting said.
Ponting, however, admitted that not completing the full quota of Brett Lee's overs in the fourth ODI in Chandigarh Monday was a big mistake on his part. Lee only bowled only seven overs in the Chandigarh match despite giving Sachin Tendulkar a torrid time in his first spell and going for just 26 runs.
Australia lost the game by eight runs, thanks to the 30 runs that M S Dhoni and Robin Uthappa scored off the last two overs. The new ball made the hitting much easier.
Tough time for bowlers
NDTV expert Ajay Jadeja was the first to suggest that the new one day rule of a mandatory ball change at the 35th over would be tough for bowlers because it would eliminate the art of reverse swing.
The Australians also seem to agree with Brett lee that bowling at the death has become a serious problem for fast bowlers.
"It will have an effect on the game. The hardest time to bat in an innings is generally at that time. The ball starts to get a bit softer and lose a bit of colour and now that they are changing the ball after 35 overs its generally getting a lot newer, a lot harder ball. If you have wickets in hand when the ball changes then you can really accelerate the scoring quite a bit in those last 15 overs," said Australian Captain Ricky Ponting.
Australia have actually outscored India in three of the four games in the last 15 overs. The first game was rained out so India did not bat but significantly when India won in Chandigarh it was because they took 123 runs off the last 90 balls.
This new rule has created problems for the likes of Brett Lee, considered one of the best bowlers in the one-day game, as his reverse swinging yorkers at the death might well be a thing of the past. (With agency inputs)