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India keen to seal series against Bangladesh

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali


Dhaka : An upbeat India, having registered a battling win in the first one-day international, will be looking to seal the three-match series when they clash with Bangladesh in the second encounter here Saturday.

After their five-wicket win in trying conditions at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium at Mirpur, near here, Thursday, India, especially Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who scored a match-winning unbeaten 91, will be keen to put Bangladesh in its place before travelling to Chittagong for the third ODI.

This was the first match for both teams after the World Cup in March-April. More than Bangladesh, India were keen to notch a win after their first-round exit at the World Cup, prompted by their unexpected loss to Bangladesh.

Now, the onus and pressure is on Habibul Bashar's home team to level the series and keep it alive.

Bangladesh badly missed strike bowler Mashrafe Mortaza Thursday who was suffering from a back spasm.

India's confidence is high, but as captain Rahul Dravid pointed out, there are areas that need improvement.

Former India captain Ravi Shastri, the team's interim cricket manager on this tour, is also bullish about his team's capabilities and their resolve to fight in adverse conditions.

"Bangladesh will have to play better cricket now if they want to beat India," said Shastri, who has replaced Greg Chappell.

One area of concern for India would be the bowling department. The six-man attack looked unimpressive as Javed Omar (80 runs), Tamim Iqbal (45) and Sakibul Hasan (50) batted with confidence against them.

Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan gave away too many runs in the beginning and off-spinner Ramesh Powar was also expensive. Munaf Patel and Sreesanth bowled well, but the latter had to go off the field with fitness problems due to which he sent down only five overs.

It should be pointed out that India are without Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, who have been "rested" for the ODI series. In that context, India's win was creditable, though the top order failed to get going. Only Virender Sehwag looked good while making 30.

India's win also underlined the point that if batsmen were determined, the worst conditions could be overcome, and that is what Dhoni and Karthik proved.

Both Dravid and Dhoni said the morning conditions were not conducive for fielding. Dhoni, who kept wickets for 47 overs in the morning, batted for over three hours, mostly with cramps in his legs, in the afternoon.

"The conditions over here favoured the bowlers, particularly the left-arm spinners. I think it was quite tough," he said after receiving the Man of the Match award.

Dhoni took a runner quite early in his innings and Yuvraj Singh did a good job in that role.

Bangladesh will be hoping that Mortaza is inspired by Dhoni and will try to play the second match even with some niggling problems.

Bashar admitted that he missed Mortaza, though Shahadat Hossain, who replaced the strike bowler, did a decent enough job.

Mortaza, who failed the fitness Thursday morning, was scheduled to undergo another one before a decision is taken on his inclusion – possibly Saturday morning.


India: Rahul Dravid (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Robin
Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh
Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthick, Manoj Tiwari,
Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap
Singh, Piyush Chawla, Ramesh Powar and Dinesh Mongia

Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (captain), Mohammad
Ashraful (vice-captain), Javed Omar, Tamim Iqbal,
Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Sakibul Hasan, Mushfiqur
Rahim (wicket-keeper), Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Rasel,
Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain, Mohammad Rafique and
Farhad Reza

Umpires: Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka) and Enamul Haque (Bangladesh)
TV umpire: Nadir Shah (Bangladesh)
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka)