India eye series win in 4th ODI at Eden Gardens

Updated: 24 December 2009 08:45 IST

India's batting may have lost some sheen in the absence of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh but the hosts still have enough firepower as they go into the 4th ODI.

India eye series win in 4th ODI at Eden Gardens

Kolkata:

India's batting may have lost some sheen in the absence of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh but the hosts still have enough firepower as they go into the fourth cricket one-dayer against Sri Lanka on Thursday hoping to wrap up the series by taking an unassailable 3-1 lead.

The hosts were already missing regular skipper Dhoni due to a ban imposed on him, and were dealt a blow when the dangerous Yuvraj Singh was also ruled out of the series due to a recurring finger injury.

The Lankans, who have also been hit hard by a spate of injuries, will be desperate to level the series in what promises to be a keen contest at the historic Eden Gardens.

Even though India have a decent batting order, a good start at the top will be imperative for them to do well in tomorrow's flood-lit encounter.

Stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag and seasoned Sachin Tendulkar will have to stay at the crease for a long period to ease the pressure on the middle-order, which is now dependent on left-hander Gautam Gambhir.

Youngsters Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik and whoever comes in as replacement of Yuvraj will have to shoulder the burden of scoring runs and make themselves counted.

Sehwag, who led the side brilliantly in Cuttack to take a 2-1 lead, would do everything to clinch the issue before Dhoni returns for the fifth match after serving the two-match ban.

India under Sehwag dished out a clinical performance in Cuttack and it never seemed that the side was playing without their regular skipper.

Tendulkar had steered India to comfortable win with his controlled batting in Cuttack and the host would hope that the star batsman would yet again come up with an inspiring performance.

It will also be a test for India's bowlers, who will have to restrict the visitors to take off the pressure from their batsmen. So far they have done well in patches but tomorrow is the day when they will have to put up good show.

India's main threat in this series remains Tillakaratne Dilshan and the hosts will have to dismiss the opener early to stay in the match.

In fact Sehwag conceded after their win in Cuttack that Dilshan's wicket made all the difference.

"The form Dilshan is in, it's difficult for any bowlers to stop runs. When Dilshan was batting the run-rate was well about 10-12 runs but Nehra gave the breakthrough. After his dismissal the run rate dipped," he said.

If bowling was a matter of concern after Dilhara Fernando and Muttiah Muralitharan's return, Lankan batting too seemed to be over dependent on Dilshan , a fact acknowledged by skipper Kumar Sangakkara himslf.

"I think it was just poor batting that did us in. Individually, we have to take responsibility," he said.

He also underlined the absence of Mathews whose unavaibility Sri Lanka really felt in the match in Cuttack.

"Definitely, it's a big loss. He was the one guy who could have balanced the whole side. It's unfortunate. But one can't do much about these things. At the end of the day, one guy doesn't make the entire side, even though he is an important player. We have to overcome these things."

It remains to be seen whether Sangakkara brings back the veteran Sanath Jayasuriya who was dropped in their last two matches in Nagpur and Cuttack.

Even Mahela Jayawardene's indifferent form would be a matter of concern for Sangakkara who will have a task in hand to to level the series.

The team batting second will have to watch for the heavy dew which will play a role in the second half of the match.

"Dew is a concern, but we will try our best to negate its affect," curator Probir Mukherjee said.

As for the pitch, it promise to be a bouncy and firm wicket, tailor-made for batting.

With Eden Gardens, known to be 'mecca of Indian cricket', hosting a one-dayer after about three years, there has been lot of enthusiasm among the people here even as almost half the stadium will be closed with renovation for World Cup 2011 in progress.

India and Sri Lanka played the last ODI at Eden Gardens on February 8, 2007 when heavy rains had washed out the match.

Teams (from):

India: Virender Sehwag (c), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Sudeep Tyagi and Virat Kohli.

Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (C &WK), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilina Kandamby, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera, Upul Tharanga, Chanaka Welegedara, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, Suraj Randiv and Thissara Perera.

Umpires: Marais Erasmus, Sanjay Hazare.

Third umpire: Shavir Tarapore.

Match Referee: Alan Hurst

Hours of play: 2.30 pm to 6 pm; 6: 45 pm till close



Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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