'Big guns' Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid sweat it out

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Bangalore, Sep 27 (UNI) Back in the one-day squad after a 'break', the three 'big guns' of the Indian batting line up -- Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid- today had a strenuous outing at the nets at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, the venue for Saturday's opening tie of the 7-match ODI series against Australia.

Speedster Zaheer Khan who was also excluded from the Indian squad that created history by winning the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa early this week, bowled an extended spell at the nets.

Most of the other Indian players, including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, were, however, yet to arrive. Dhoni is expected to arrive in the city tomorrow. Robin Uthappa, who hails from here, was also not seen in action. Offspinner Romesh Pawar was there at the nets.

Bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad, the former India medium pacer bowled for a long stint while Anil Kumble, who is not in the one-day squad, was also at hand to bowl at the three master batsmen.

The Australian squad, barring the injured skipper Ricky Ponting, also had a rigorous workout at the nets.

Meanwhile, final touches were being given to the stadium which has been a favourite haunting ground for the Indian team. India has won nine out of 14 ODIs at this venue and against Australia, it has been a mixed bag -- they have won one and lost one match.

Curator Narayana Raju told UNI that the pitch would be a 'sporting track' which was hard and dry. The wicket was laid six months ago with the help of New Zealand experts. Only one T20 match has been played on it so far. ''The track will offer a fair amount of bounce. Batsmen can expect the pitch to be conducive for stroke making but it will also have something for bowlers -- both spinners and medium pacers,'' he said.

UNI

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