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Sehwag banks on spinners, youngsters in fourth ODI

Last updated on: December 23, 2009 17:46 IST

After struggling with the ball in the first two matches, Team India finally seemed to have found a way to contain the aggression of the Sri Lankan top order, and take crucial wickets.

And, it is by no means a novel way but one that is quintessentially Indian -- reliance on spin.

In the third one-dayer in Cuttack, the spinners, led by man-of-the-match Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh and even Virender Sehwag to an extent, ensured Sri Lanka was dismissed for 239 in just 44.2 overs, after being comfortably placed at 165 for one in the 23rd over. The home team subsequently coasted to victory without much ado.

No wonder stand-in captain Sehwag wants an encore to ensure his side wraps up the series with a match to go.

"It's always a slow track in Kolkata and the spinners therefore have a crucial role to play always," Sehwag assessed on the eve of the match.

"We are looking forward to our spinners doing well especially considering the way Harbhajan and Jadeja bowled in the previous match," he  added. The optimism was shrouded in a veil of caution.

"We will try our best. But it is not as easy for the bowlers to pick quick wickets as they did in the last one-dayer," said Sehwag. 

The Indian captain said his team's strategy in the fourth one-dayer will be simple.

"We will try to get a few early wickets, especially Dilshan's, and put pressure on their middle order because it is something that hasn't fired so far," revealed Sehwag.

Team India has, on previous occasions, held the lead in the series, only to let the opposition back in it. Are they worried about this fact?

"Not at all," said the captain, quick to defend his side. There was an elaborate explanation that followed.

"Yes, we were 2-1 up against Australia and surrendered the next three ODIs and the series," he admitted. "We are concerned about that but we aren't giving up games easily now.

"We will fight till the end and hopefully win the game and the series tomorrow."

With Mahendra Singh Dhoni still suspended, Yuvraj Singh too has been ruled out for the series, after featuring in only one match. How much does the team miss these players?

"When Sachin Tendulkar gets injured everybody asks the same question," said Sehwag, in jest. "But we still manage to win games.

"Of course, it is a loss and we will definitely miss them. But there are lot of younger players coming in to replace them and if they do well we have a very good bench strength in the comings years," reasoned the captain.

"If someone like a Rohit Sharma and a Virat Kohli takes this chance, he can make a mark ahead of the World Cup."

Our Correspondent Kolkata