ICL: Indian Cricket League

Australia, India take battle into triangular series


Australia and India will continue their recent bitter rivalry when the one-day triangular cricket series also involving Sri Lanka begins at the Gabba here on Sunday (tomorrow).

The squads are coming off a hotly disputed four-Test series in which some searing on-field performances were overshadowed by an ugly dispute involving Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh and Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds.

Harbhajan was initially suspended for two Tests when match referee Mike Proctor ruled he had racially abused Symonds during the second Test in Sydney. But that suspension was overturned on appeal this week, with the Indian spinner cleared of all but a minor charge of using abusive language, a decision that reportedly left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Australian squad.

The dispute is threatening to derail a farewell tour by Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, who is retiring after the one-day series, and has overshadowed Sri Lanka’s participation in the competition. The Sri Lankans arrived in Australia last weekend and promptly thrashed Prime Minister’s XI in a warm-up match in Canberra on Wednesday.

The series promises to be one of the best in years, with the teams evenly matched. Australia are the current one-day world champions after defeating Sri Lanka in last year’s final, while India won the inaugural Twenty20 world championships last September and have brought most of that young squad here.

Batsman Suresh Raina, 21, returns to the one-day side after nearly a year, while 19-year-old paceman Ishant Sharma regained his berth after impressing during the recent Test series. Fast bowler Pravin Kumar won a place, as did fellow paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, who like Harbhajan has a prickly relationship with the Australians.

Australia have named a settled squad, with the only change from December’s one-day series against New Zealand being the inclusion of fast bowler Stuart Clark for Shawn Tait, who has taken an extended break from the game for health reasons.

Brad Haddin, the heir-apparent to Gilchrist, is in the squad but will play predominantly as a batsman. Sri Lankan veteran Sanath Jayasuriya makes his final tour of Australia before retirement, but the youngsters outnumber the veterans in the Sri Lankan squad.

“We have a very good young side that has put in a lot of hard work at practice,” captain Mahela Jayawardene said. “We want to win the series and use it as a platform to build a strong team for the future.”

The 15-man squad includes six fast bowlers, with Muttiah Muralitharan the lone specialist spinner in the squad. The series starts in Brisbane on Sunday with each team playing eight preliminary matches before the best-of-three finals in Sydney (March 2), Brisbane (March 4) and Adelaide (March 7, if required).

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Saturday, February 2nd, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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