Battered India need to sort out problems

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L Nandan

Johannesburg, Jan 14 (PTI) Thrashed in the first game inDurban, India would hope to put up a far more inspired displayas they go into the second cricket one-dayer against SouthAfrica here tomorrow with a few problems to sort out in boththe bowling and batting departments.

The Indians did well by drawing the Test series 1-1 andthen winning the only T20 game on Sunday, but the humiliating135-run defeat in the first match came as a big blow for thevisitors who have to regroup before its too late.

Already plagued by injuries to key players, nothingseemed to have gone right for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his menin Durban as both the batting and bowling left much to bedesired.

The Indians have a track record of not doing too well inthe first match on tours and Dhoni and his men will be lookingto bounce back and level the five-match series 1-1 at the NewWanderers ground which is likely to aid the pace bowlers.

Already missing key players such as Virender Sehwag andGautam Gambhir, the injury list has only grown longer withpaceman Praveen Kumar also returning home because of aninjury.

Paceman S Sreesanth is also recovering from an elbowinjury, which forced him to sit out of the first match, and itremains to be seen whether the Kerala speedster is fit enoughto take the field on the morrow.

Batting has been India''s strength but the top ordercollapsed like a pack of cards to be reduced to 43 for four inthe first match, and the team could never really recover fromthat jolt.

Sachin Tendulkar, returning to the Indian one-day foldafter close to a year, has a big role to play and the championbatsman has to take up the responsibility of giving India acompetitive total on the board.

The Indian line-up has a number of young but talentedplayers such as Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli andSuresh Raina but they have to fire when it matters most.

Kohli was the only batsman to score a half century in thelast game unlike the South Africans who had three batsmencoming up with substantial contributions. The failure to buildpartnerships made India''s chase all the more difficult.

For the off-colour Yuvraj Singh, it is the final chanceto convince the selectors that he is the same destructiveforce which won India many a matches before the stunning slumpin form. .

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