India keen to settle pace doubts

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India go into tomorrow's day-night game against Zimbabwe keen to settle the doubts which have surfaced after a pounding by Australia at WACA.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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India go into tomorrow's day-night game against Zimbabwe keen to settle the doubts which have surfaced after a pounding by Australia at WACA. Saurav Ganguly's men have been in irresistible form this summer but Aussie pacer Breet Lee came back to his best form to give them a few bruised bodies and troubled minds. Now the Indians must look to inflict a similar damage to the Africans in the last league match, not for any other reason but just to reassure themselves that all is well and they are ready for the first final on Friday. Coach John Wright has asserted that his team would not be looking ahead for the finals yet and the two games at Perth were paramount on their minds. But it is difficult to believe that the Indians would have made nothing of the pummeling at the hands of the world champions. Batting strength India's strength all summer has been their batting and all would be keen to recover the poise he triangular series and are themselves keen to prove a point in the final league game of the series before they leave the Australian shores. Materially it would make no difference, for Zimbabwe ceased being a factor in the tri-series a long time ago but there is pride to play for and fine tuning to be done for future battles. India would be keen for Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag to fall back into the groove for the two had been terrific together before WACA happened. VVS Laxman can always look back at his bank of runs and derive confidence but both Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly are short of runs have somewhat obscured their lack of big knocks in a few matches lately. Dravid looks in good touch but has not had a big score in the last few matches while Ganguly's best remains his 82 in the first match against Australia in Melbourne on January 9. Agarkar in form Ironically, yesterday's game was not without its silver lining for the Indians as the tail produced a marvelous effort and showed courage in adding over 100 runs for the last four wickets. The praise to the tail does not include Ajit Agarkar, though he does not seem to be a batsman who should come out at number eight. Agarkar tried his best to get out yesterday and having been unable to do so, ran himself out to leave his mates exasperated in the dressing room. Zimbabwe's last chance Zimbabwe would like to win at least one game at the cost of the Indians who they ran close in their last two match-ups Adelaide by 24 and 3 runs respectively. Their batting surely has started to come together with Sean Ervine, Stuart Carlisle and Grant Flower hitting their straps. Bowlers have not allowed Australia to run up scores of 300 in the last two games would be a bigger force than it has been, given the help the trundlers have got at WACA and captain Heath Streak would be for hoping more of it. Indians would largely like to go into the game with the same eleven though the selection of left-arm spinner Murali Kartik cannot be a foregone conclusion. Kartik has struggled to come to terms with the true nature of Australian wickets and despite Ganguly's assertion of his utility, the evidence of WACA is pretty unlikely to support his case. (PTI)

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