India, Australia set for T20 clash

India and Australia are all set to clash in a Twenty20 international for only the third time on Friday.

updated: February 04, 2008 17:36 IST
  • Total Shares

Melbourne, Australia:

India and Australia are all set to clash in a Twenty20 international for only the third time on Friday.

And several big names are expected to be missing in action - Ricky Ponting is a doubtful starter because of a bad back. Yuvraj Singh is out as well. And now, Sachin Tendulkar is also unlikely to play what would have just his second T20 international.

The T20 game was the one format of the game where India can claim to be dominant. They have won both their previous encounters against the Aussies.

"They were excellent in T20 and Mumbai, maybe we have scores to settle," said Ricky Ponting, Captain, Australian Cricket Team.

Yuvraj hitting versus Australia in the T20 semi final

The big difference, though, could prove to be Yuvraj Singh's absence. He hurt the Aussies in South Africa, where he was the mainstay of the side.

But will miss Friday's game thanks to his injured knee. The Aussies, meanwhile, have problems of their own. Skipper Ponting's possible absence due to his bad back may negate the advantage of an India minus Yuvi.

"Yuvi is the backbone of ODI and T20 team, but will give other players a chance to show their wares," said Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Captain, Indian cricket team.

Mahinder Singh Dhoni who averaged below 20 in the Test series was unusually slow in the couple of innings where he did score.

He has said the Aussies tested his patience, but it's now time to break the shackles. And for a man who led a young side of rank outsiders to the World T-20 Title last year, the arrival of so many fresh faces is not a problem.

"A lot of the players are new, so this is a good way to used to conditions," said Dhoni.

With a whole month if controversy around Symonds and Harbhajan overshadowing the cricket, the Twenty20 match gives both teams the perfect opportunity to put the unpleasantness behind and focus on the game.

And with the packed house of about 80,000 watching at the MCG, the stage is all set for an exciting encounter.