Nagpur meltdown leaves India with daunting task

Updated: 11 December 2009 15:44 IST

Stung by the flop show in the first game, India have plenty of repair work to do as they go into the second Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Nagpur meltdown leaves India with daunting task

Mohali (Punjab):

Stung by the flop show in the first game, India have plenty of repair work to do as they go into the second Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka here on Saturday with the acute in fielding and bowling standards being a worrying factor.

The Indians put up a pathetic performance in all departments of the game to lose the first match by 29 runs in Nagpur and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men have a tough task at hand to level the series 1-1.

Nothing went right for the hosts in Nagpur and seldom does a top international cricket team go into a game worrying about so many factors.

If the fielding was poor, the batting and bowling also left much to be desired and the team management may opt for a couple of changes in the playing eleven for tomorrow's floodlit contest at the PCA stadium.

Paceman S Sreesanth, who missed the first match because of diarrhea, could not recover from viral infection and has been rested.

The Indians may also contemplate leaving out Yousuf Pathan who has not been able to make a significant contribution off late despite his immense talent.

The visitors, on the other hand, will go into the contest in a positive frame of mind after their convincing victory in Nagpur where captain Kumar Sangakkara led from the front with a blistering 37-ball 78.

The Lankans have swashbucklers like Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne Dilshan at the top of the order and the duo can tear any bowling attack to pieces when on song.

They have the experienced Mahela Jayawardene in the middle order to steady the ship in case there are early jolts while Chamara Kapugedera and Angelo Mathews can be quite destructive down the line-up.

World's highest wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan had to sit out of the first match due to a finger injury and it remains to be seen whether the wily off spinner will be fit to take the field tomorrow.

Dhoni is a trifle concerned about India's poor run in the shortest format of the game and his keen to put a halt to the sequence of defeats.

"Unfortunately we are not being able to get into the groove when we play Twenty20 Internationals before one-day series. We made the mistake of taking them (Twenty20 matches) as warm-up games before one-day matches," Dhoni said.

"We don't actually think of these Twenty 20 matches as international matches. I am not sure about this but the statistics shows that (we are not doing well)," he added.

The Indian fielding has been a big let down and the new fielding consultant Mike Young has an enormous task at hand to ensure that catches are held and no extra runs are given because of mis-fields.

"We are not one of the best fielding sides in the world but we are also not known to drop too many catches. Of course, the dropped catches hurt us in the first match," Dhoni pointed out.

The islanders, on the other hand, have done well by not allowing the 2-0 Test drubbing dent their morale and the presence of some fresh players seems to have rejuvenated the team.

"It is a new format and there are fresh faces who are one-day specialists in the team, ready to stand up and be counted. The win in Nagpur has lifted the morale of the team", Sri Lankan captain Sangakkara said.

"Of course, we will start from the scratch in the one-day series but a win always makes you happy, we would want to carry on the momentum in Mohali," he said.

The toss can turn out to be crucial as dew is expected to play a part in the match at this time of the year. The team winning the toss may avoid bowling second as the dew will make it difficult to grip the ball.

The Mohali track is known to offer some pace and bounce to the bowlers and it is not going to be any different this time around.

"There is going to be something for the bowlers under the present conditions, but overall it will be a good wicket with pace and carry," chief curator, Daljit Singh.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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