Clash of titans on the cards

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Bangalore, Sep 28: Fresh from the Twenty-20 World Cup triumph, M S Dhoni led Team India will take on world champions Australia in a day-night ODI match here tomorrow.

Leading the team for the first time in a seven-match ODI series at home, a confident Dhoni said the team would get additional strength from the big three--Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly -- besides spinner Harbajan Singh.

However, after their semifinal loss to India in Twenty20 World Cup, the Aussies are aiming for a victory, banking on their past performance in India and high success rate in the ODIs.

The Australian Team has suffered a set back as the visitors are dogged by injuries.

Captian Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey and Shane Watson are unlikely for tomorrow's match due to injuries.

While fast bowler Shaun Tait has been excluded from the squad due to injury, another speedster Nathan Bracken would join the squad later as he is in Australia, celebrating the birth of his first child.

Australia's vice captain Adam Gilchrist also tried to shift the pressure on Team India saying the home team is now in a 'new zone' as the number one team in T20 version and pressure would be tremendous playing in front of home crowd. Whether the Aussies could deploy a psychological warfare against Dhoni is to be seen as the new Indian captain proved to be a cool character and soak up the pressure admirably. During testing times in the T20 finals against Pakistan, the Indian skipper remained calm and egged his team mates to perform at their peak.

''Pressure will not affect me wherever I play and I want my team to feel the same. It is a game and we believe in performing to the best of our ability. One should not be too perturbed with a loss or go too high when the team wins,'' Dhoni remarked.

Despite the injury worries the Aussies still remain formidable with its star openers Adam Gilchrist, who would be leading the side if Ponting is not passed fit. His long time partner Matthew Hayden and the consistent Andrew Symonds. Their fast bowling still looks formidable with the presence of Brett Lee and Michell Johnson.

But they will run into the very strong Indian batting line up now bolstered by the presence of the three 'big guns'. Though batting remained the strength of India, bowlers always have performed admirably. The return of Zaheer Khan, who did not go to T20 World Cup, and the new found confidence of R P Singh, who excelled with the ball in the T20 world cup and aggressive S Sreesanth can create trouble to the Aussie batsmen. the return of Harbhajan Singh bolsters the spin department.

The Chinnaswamy stadium has been a favourite haunting ground for Indians who have won nine out of 14 matches they have played so far.

Against Australia, they have won one match and losing the other in the two matches they have played so far.

So far India has played 84 one dayers against the Aussies winning 28 of them and losing 51, while five matches have tied. Following are the teams (from): India: M S Dhoni (Capt), Yuvraj Singh (Vice-capt), Saurav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik, Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, R P Singh, Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh.

Bowling coach: Venkatesh Prasad, Fielding Coach: Robin Singh, Physio: John Gloster, Trainer Greg King.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (Capt), Adam Gilchrist (Vice-capt), Matthew Hayden, Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds.

Team Manager: Steve Bernard, Coach: Tim Nielsen, Assistant coach: Jamie Siddons, Pace bowling coach: Troy Cooley. Fielding coach: Mike Young.

Umpires: Steve Bucknor and Suresh Shastri. 3rd umpire: Amish Saheba. 4th umpire: Sudhir Asnani. Match Refree: Chris Broad.

Following is the itinerary: 1st match: September 29 - M Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore. Time: 2.30 PM. 2nd: October 2 - Nehru Stadium, Kochi, 9 AM, 3rd: October 5 - RG Stadium, Hyderabad 9 AM, 4th: October 8 - Sector 16 stadium, Chandigarh, 9 AM, 5th: October 11 - IPCL Sports Complex Ground, Vadodara, 9 AM, 6th October 14 - Vidarbha CA Ground, Nagpur, 9 AM, 7th: October 20 - Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai 2.30 PM.

Twenty-20 international: October 20 - Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, 1.30 pm.


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