Team India bank on batsmen

India's young batsmen will have to prove their worth before its too late as they take on Sri Lanka in the second match of the tri-series on Tuesday.

updated: February 08, 2008 11:05 IST
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With the batting letting them down in the last two matches, India's young batsmen will have to prove their worth before its too late as they take on Sri Lanka in the second match of the cricket tri-series on Tuesday.

The batsmen, many of whom have joined the team for the Twenty20 and tri-series, have not yet come to terms with the conditions Down Under and will need to pull up their socks on a pacy Gabba track.

The Indians had opted to leave out the seniors like Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid for the tri-series keeping the future in mind but the move has not really paid dividends yet with the youngsters not been able to make much of an impression.

The visitors were bundled out for a paltry 74 in the Twenty20 game against Australia in Melbourne and their batting performance left much to be desired in the first match of the tri-series against the hosts before the rains came down.

Although Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma got the starts in the last match, the other players like Robin Uthappa and Manoj Tiwari were quite a disappointment.

The batting, however, will get a boost with Yuvraj Singh, who sat out of the first two games because of a knee injury, expected to come back into the team for the day-night encounter.

Tiwary will most probably sit out if Yuvraj is fit enough to take his place in the playing eleven.

India, on paper, bat way down the order which could actually improve if Yuvraj puts his hands up for selection.

Yuvraj hasn't had a hit since the Perth Test and could be rushed into the eleven. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni would like to bring Yuvraj into equation only if the weather is perfect. Or else he would afford him a few more extra days before India plays its next game in Melbourne, against Australia on February 10.

Yuvraj is the missing link in the Indian line-up as the first four batsmen are unlikely to be disturbed on Tuesday.

Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma are likely to roll out again in that order and there doesn't seem to be any change either in the order of Dhoni and Robin Uthappa.

In case Yuvraj does not make it on injury count, it would be a toss up between Tiwary and Suresh Raina who hasn't got a game till now.

Astonishingly for a team which has disappointed its supporters, India doesn't appear to have too many selection worries with the bowlers and batters neatly mapped for the game on Tuesday.

Similarly, Sri Lanka is also looking for extra protection in batting and would go with seven frontline batsmen. Sanath Jayasuriya, the old warhorse who got stitches on his jaw after being hit in a Hobart game, is likely to turn up against a team he has tormented for long now.

The left-hander has scored 2200 runs against India from 68 games and five of his 25 hundreds have come against the fellow team from the sub-continent.

Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga at the top, followed by Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Silva, Tillakratne Dilshan and all-rounder Chamara Kapugedera makes it a formidable batting for the island team.

The bowling is vastly experienced too with incomparable Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas getting support from the young tyros of Lasith Malinga and Ferveez Maharoof. The spin of Dilshan and Jayasuriya gives them the variety.

Teams (likely):

India: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary/Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni
(c), Robin Uthappa, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan.

Sri Lanka: Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene (c), Kumar Sangakkara, Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Ferveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas and Upul Tharanga.

Umpires: Steve Davis (Aus) and Rudi Koertzen (SA).

Match starts at 1.15 p.m local time (8.45 a.m IST)