press trust of india
CARDIFF, 3 JUNE: Led by Virat Kohli, Indian batsmen will look to continue the good work done against Sri Lanka when they take on Australia in their second and final warm-up game tomorrow ahead of the Champions Trophy.
It is said that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni could choose his playing XI based on his team-mates’ performances in the two warm-up games.
It will be a real test for Kohli and Co against Australian seamers, who are better than their Sri Lankan counterparts. The left-arm seam troika of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner could prove to be a handful if conditions favoured swing bowling. While Starc is coming back from an injury, Johnson and Faulkner have been in fantastic form in the Indian Premier League, finishing among the top-five wicket-takers.
Team India would surely take a lot of confidence from the fact that they got past the mammoth Sri Lankan total of 333 with consummate ease. Kohli made 144 while comeback man Dinesh Karthik, by scoring a fine century, staked a strong claim to a place in the playing XI.
What might be a worrying factor for Dhoni, though, is the performance of Rohit Sharma. Despite enjoying a fine IPL, he, as usual, flopped whilst playing for India, getting out pathetically in the team’s first warm-up game.
Dhoni will also be worried about the performance of his bowlers in the first warm-up game, in which Sri Lankan batsmen easily notched up a 300-plus score.
The Edgbaston track was batsman-friendly all right but Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, R Vinay Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar did not bowl well. Dhoni did not use his fastest bowler, Umesh Yadav, in the match but the Vidarbha boy is expected to play against Australia. The spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra made no impact either. A good performance in the tournament will give Australia a big boost ahead of the Ashes.
After the 0-4 Test drubbing at the hands of India a couple of months ago, Michael Clarke will expect his team to produce an improved performance in the 50-over version.
Shane Watson’s return to form during the IPL is a positive sign for the Aussies. That he has started bowling adds balance to a line-up that includes talented youngsters like Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh.
Also tomorrow, the West Indies take on Sri Lanka in a warm-up match at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Shield for India
Dhoni today received the International Cricket Council Shield in a simple ceremony at Swalec Stadium for finishing as the No 1 One-Day International team on 1 April, the cut-off date. Former ICC president David Morgan presented Dhoni with a silver salver and a cheque for $175,000.
India (119 points) retain the top spot going into the Champions Trophy. Dhoni said: “This one belongs to the team, not me alone.”