India seek to keep momentum going

Buoyed by their emphatic victory in the last game, a confident India will seek to keep the momentum going in the third ODI.

India would be hoping to exploit a slow and low track when they take Australia in the third one-dayer.

With the seven-match series tied 1-1, both the teams will be keen to regain the initiative in what promises to be a thrilling floodlit contest at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.

The resounding victory in Nagpur will no doubt serve as a huge confidence booster for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men, who came out with a brilliant all-round display to claw their way back into the series after Australia took the lead.

Barring Sachin Tendulkar, the awesome Indian batting line up has looked solid with most of the top order batsmen being among the runs in the first two matches.

Dhoni himself led from the front with a blistering 124 off 107 balls while Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have laid the foundation with their lusty strokeplay.

While the Indians looked a confident lot, the Aussies have a few problems to sort out, particularly in their bowling department with pace spearhead Brett Lee ruled out of the series because of an elbow injury.

The spate of injuries to some of their key players has weakened the World Champions to some extent and a depleted bowling attack have only compounded their misery.

Graham Manou will make his debut

Wicket-keeper bastman Tim Paine was the latest to join the casualty list with a broken finger which has ruled him out of the entire series. Paine has been replaced by rookie Graham Manou, who is sure to make his ODI debut on Saturday.

Despite winning the first match at Vadodara by a narrow margin, the Aussies never really looked in command and Ricky Ponting would be keen to plug the loopholes before it is too late.

“It will be like starting from the scratch in Delhi. Hopefully, we will improve in the areas where we did not do well and we will bounce back,” Ponting said.

“Ever since Glenn McGrath has moved out, the death overs have been a problem,” he said.

His counterpart Dhoni would be delighted with the performance of his team, especially the bowlers who went for a ride in the series opener.

Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar looked menacing upfront with the new ball, while Ravindra Jadeja has been a sensation in the spin department and shared the responsibility ably with Harbhajan Singh, who is going through a rough patch.

“All the bowlers did well. Ashish Nehra is at his usual impressive form, Ishant Sharma is continuing with his good show and good thing is Praveen Kumar has come up good.

“Ravindra Jadeja came in late but got three crucial wickets in the last game,” Dhoni said.

To add to that, the options in the slow bowling department would be an advantage for the Indians in the low and slow Kotla strip.

The first two matches of the series have been high-scoring contests but Saturday’s game could turn out to be a rather low-scoring affair with the Kotla pitch not very conducive for strokeplay.

The recent Airtel Champions League Twenty20 matches have shown that scoring freely would be a tough proposition although the curator has tried his best to prepare the track for the match.

Dew will be another important factor and both the captains will have that in mind when they go out for the toss.

The Teams (from):

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Hussey, Doug Bollinger, Nathan Hauritz, Jon Holland, Ben Hilfenhaus, Shaun Marsh, Graham Manou, Peter Siddle, Adam Voges, Shane Watson, Brett Lee and Cameron White.

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra, Sudeep Tyagi, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja.

One-Day Internationals at Feroz Shah Kotla, Country-wise Results Summary:

Approaching milestones:

– Sachin Tendulkar (16921 at an average of 44.29) needs 79 runs to complete his 17,000 runs in ODIs and to become the first player to perform the feat.

– Mahendra Singh Dhoni (892) requires 108 runs to complete his 1,000 runs in 2009.  The top four batsmen in terms of runs this year are:  Ponting (1017), Masakadza (980), Hussey (979) and Dhoni (892).

Australia have played four at Ferozshah Kotla – three with India and one with Zimbabwe.  The brief scores are as under:

Date      Toss    Opponents/Scores   Result/Man of the Match

2.10.86   India  Aus.238-6 (45)        India won by 7 wickets
Ind.242-7 (43.3)        Raman Lamba (74)

22.10.87  Aus.  Ind.289-6 (50)        India won by 56 runs
Aus.233   (49)           Mohd.Azharuddin (54*)

11.4.98   Zim.   Aus.294-3 (50)       Aus.won by 16 runs
Zim.278-9 (50)         Ricky Ponting (145)

14.4.98   Ind.   Ind.227   (49.3)      Aus.won by 4 wickets
Aus.231-6 (48.4)       Steve Waugh (57 + 2/42)

Highest Innings Totals

Runs   Overs For          Against       Date

303-8  50.0  Pakistan    India          17.4.2005
294-3  50.0  Australia   Zimbabwe   11.4.1998
289-3  50.0  India        N Zealand     3.11.1994
289-6  50.0  India        Australia      22.10.1987

Lowest Innings Totals

144    37.0  India        Pakistan        17.4.2005
176    41.4  India        West Indies   23.10.1989

Biggest wins

7 wickets    India        N Zealand   17.11.1999
159 runs    Pakistan   India           17.4.2005
107 runs    India        N Zealand     3.11.1994

The Top Partnerships

Runs  Wkt.    Batsmen                                    For   Vs.   Series

219     2       Mark Waugh/Ricky Ponting            Aus. Zim   1997-98
175     3       Sachin Tendulkar/Md.Azharuddin   Ind.   SL    1995-96
170     2       S.Wettimunny/Roy Dias                SL    Ind    1982-83

The Leading run-getters

Batsman                For   M  I  N.O.Runs H.S.  Ave.  100  50  S.R.

Mohd.Azharuddin   Ind.   7  7  3   267   72*  66.75   –   3    96.39
Sachin Tendulkar    Ind.   6  6  –   241  137   40.17   1   1    96.79
Dilip Vengsarkar     Ind.   4  4  –   209   63    52.25   –   3    84.62

Highest Individual Innings

Runs Balls Batsman             For        Opponents    Date

145  157   Ricky Ponting       Aus.       Zimbabwe    11.4.1998
137  137   Sachin Tendulkar  India       S Lanka        2.3.1996
105  131   Nick Knight          England   India           31.1.2002
102  114   Roy Dias             S.Lanka    India          15.9.1982

Best Bowling in an Innings

Wkts. Bowler                For         Opponents   Date

6-41  Vivian Richards     WI           India          23.10.1989
5-31  Harbhajan Singh   India        England      28.3.2006
5-57  Ashley Giles          England   India           31.1.2002

Leading wicket-taker

Ajit Agarkar (India) – 7 (ave.24.57) in 3 matches

Best all-round performance

44 + 6/41  Vivian Richards  W.Indies vs India   23.10.1989
37 + 5/31  Harbhajan Singh  India vs England  28.3.2006

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