India look to get into one-day groove

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India's young guns will have to quickly acclimatise to conditions and get into the one-day groove as they take on Australia in the opening match.

Updated: February 03, 2008 14:55 IST
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Battered in the Twenty20 game in Melbourne, India's young guns will have to quickly acclimatise to conditions and get into the one-day groove as they take on Australia in the opening match of the cricket tri-series on Sunday.

The young Indian batsmen, many of whom have joined the team only for the T20 and tri-series, will be keen to make amends for the pathetic batting display in Melbourne where the team was shot out for a paltry 74 in 17.3 overs. They will now be subjected to another test of their skills against Brett Lee and company on a traditionally quick Gabba track.

Sachin Tendulkar's return will definitely strengthen the batting line-up as he has been in very good form right through the Test series and the champion batsman will be keen to carry the momentum into the shorter version as well.

A few of the shots youngsters played at MCG suited some village bumpkins more than the trustees who hold the baton for India's future.

A silver lining for the Indians could be their bowling which usually thrives in helpful conditions.

Munaf Patel, along with Manoj Tewari, landed in Brisbane this morning and could be expected to join S Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma as India's three-pronged pace attack.

Irfan Pathan as an all-rounder and Harbhajan Singh as off-spinner do not make it appear a lame attack for the visitors.

But it is the batting where the men in front need to quickly restore confidence and give India a platform to post a competitive total.

India needs their top men to fire and it implies that Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni must come to party.

And if they don't, then Australia are past masters in squeezing life out of terrified opponents and the conditions at Gabba could suit them to the hilt.

The wicket, despite having slowed down a bit over the years, is still one of the livelier tracks of Australia and the humidity because of inclement weather is only going to add sting in the tails of the home pacemen.

It rained considerably in Brisbane today and more thunderstorms are predicted for tomorrow. The accompanying humidity will be to the liking of the Australians.

Although five pacemen are listed in the 13-member Australian squad, only one -- between Mitchell Johnson and Ashley Noffke -- would get a call-up to partner Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken, who are a formidable pair with the new ball in the shorter version of the game.

In a last minute development, the selectors added Noffke and Adam Voges to the squad.

Stuart Clark has opted out of the match due to "private family reasons", paving way for Noffke.

"It is anticipated Clark will rejoin the squad when it travels to Sydney next week," Cricket Australia said.

Voges was added to the side as 'cover', should Ricky Ponting or Matthew Hayden be ruled unfit prior to the match.

James Hopes, a cricketer in the mould of Shane Watson, will play the allrounder's role.

Clarke will play his first one-dayer since September and Brad Haddin will be in the team as a specialist batsman though when Adam Gilchrist leaves his post in March, he would double up as a wicketkeeper-batsman in the team.

Haddin's chances have brightened up as there is still doubt on Ricky Ponting's availability due to a stiff back.

The tri-series, with Sri Lanka as the third team, would stretch into the March with three possible finals. Each team plays each other four times, meaning eight matches apiece in the group stage, a total of 12 round-robin games.

Teams (from):

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt and w-k), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla.

Australia (from): Ricky Ponting (capt), Adam Gilchrist (wk), Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, James Hopes, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Ashley Noffke, Nathan Bracken.

Hours of play: 8.45 am to 12.15 pm, 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm (IST).

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