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India need big win over Lanka to stay alive

Source: PTI
June 04, 2010 16:32 IST
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Rohit SharmaTheir chances of making the final hanging by a thread, a beleaguered India have to win, and win big, when they take on Sri Lanka in a do-or-die match in the cricket tri-series in Harare on Saturday.

Smarting from the ignominy of being beaten twice by Zimbabwe in the tournament – India's first back-to-back defeats against the traditional minnows -- Suresh Raina and his teammates have their backs against the wall with the prospect of an early exit looming large.

Given the scenario, India, who currently have just four points from one win, have to beat the Lankans on Saturday with a bonus point and hope that the outcome of Monday's Zimbabwe-Sri Lanka match also goes their way.

A win and bonus point will take India's tally to nine points, level with Zimbabwe. Then, Raina and his men will hope that Zimbabwe spring another surprise and upstage the Lankans, who have five points, in the final league encounter.

But all mathematical calculations hinge on an Indian win on Saturday and they can take heart from the fact that they beat Tillakaratne Dilshan's men the first time around.

That win came on the back of some fantastic batting by Rohit Sharma, who struck a hundred, and Virat Kohli. The two rescued India from a wobbly start and guided them home.

But except for the two, and to some extent Raina, India's batting was unimpressive. The Zimbabweans thoroughly exposed the frailties and though the Lankans also have a relatively inexperienced squad, they will strive to exploit the known chink in India's armour.

The openers have been a letdown and Raina had no hesitation in admitting that the failure of Murali Vijay and Dinesh Karthik has hurt the side.

Rohit Sharma hit back-to-back centuries but it is unfair to expect him to keep bailing out the side.

Much will depend on Kohli and Raina as well, while Yusuf Pathan will also have to contribute, more so when the chips are down.

India's bowling too has been largely toothless and none from the attack has made much of an impact. Umesh Yadav and Ashok Dinda were inconsistent and though they have wickets to show, their economy rates are nothing to talk about.

The Lankans have played just two matches and while they were clinical against Zimbabwe, they just couldn't accelerate at the right time against India.

But the team, which comprises some new faces and some comeback men, could still prove to be a quite a handful for India.


India: Suresh Raina (capt), Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Amit Mishra, Naman Ojha, Pragyan Ojha, Pankaj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, R Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav.

Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), Angelo Mathews, Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Chamara Kapugedera, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara, Ajantha Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Dilhara Fernando, Chamara Silva, Thissira Perera.

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