Match Preview: India-England clash in final Group A match holds more importance for India

first_imgThe India-England clash in the final Group A match in Colombo on Sunday has virtually nothing up for grabs. Afghanistan are out, the teams are through to the next round safely and even their positions in the Super Eights groups are fixed due to the ICC’s seeding system.But the match probably holds more importance for India than England, given their lacklustre effort against the minnows of the group on Wednesday, and the defending champions’ clinical precision on Friday.It is also time for MS Dhoni to experiment with his line-up a bit, and he said as much, with team sources hinting that Ashoke Dinda and Harbhajan Singh could get a game, though who will sit out is still a question mark.On form, it would probably be Zaheer Khan, who hasn’t done anything of note in the last few months, and Irfan Pathan, who has been very inconsistent and mostly expensive, barring a five-wicket haul against Sri Lanka in a warmup game.Lakshmipathy Balaji has bowled with control and Ravichandran Ashwin has been India’s best bowler by far of late, so to rest either of them would perhaps be foolhardy against a line-up that posted 196 against the Afghans. At least the illness and injury worries that affected India a day ago had disappeared, according to Dhoni.”Everyone, including Viru, is fit,” he said, referring to YuvrajSingh’s throat infection, Suresh Raina’s stomach troubles and Virender Sehwag’s thumb, which had got a knock on Friday.Despite the planned experimentation, Dhoni is unlikely to fiddle with his seven-batsman theory or the batting order.advertisement”In the Indian team, we have two types of players. We have to look at which player suits what slot. Suresh Raina is one such player who can hit a six off the very first ball while the likes of Virat and Yuvraj need to have a look at the bowling and play their shots once they get set,” he said.The openers, thus, will in all likelihood get another chance to get back their lost form, and the sight of some familiar tormentors like Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann might just bring out the best in them.Judging by the pitches used at the Premadasa Stadium so far, there isn’t much help expected for the spinners, and it is the batsmen and pacers who will relish the chance to perform on the strip.Yuvraj Singh during a practice session on Saturday.The weather could be a concern given that Saturday’s match between West Indies and Australia was affected by rain. The drainage system though has improved at the time of redeveloping the stadium for last year’s ODI World Cup.From the English point of view, the adage ‘well begun is half done’ holds true, given their near-perfect performance on Friday, but India will provide a different challenge altogether.The key matchup will probably be the Indian batsmen against the strong English bowling line-up, and that could decide the fate of the game.Dhoni, too, seems to believes so, since he had admitted the weakness of the Indian bowling, and on Saturday added: “It is very difficult to replace a player like Kevin Pietersen, especially in this format.Also, the fact that he can make a difference, having done well across all the formats, makes him a special player.”If that doesn’t light a fire under the English battling lineup, nothing [email protected]last_img

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