Indians sweat it out ahead of epic encounter

Indians sweat it out ahead of epic encounter

Indians sweat it out ahead of epic encounter

Three days after they handed a 109-run drubbing to cricket’s newest crybabies Bangladesh in the quarterfinal, India held their first practice session here at the SCG on Monday.

This was the first of only two training sessions that India will be having in the run-up to their semifinal clash against Australia on Thursday, and it wasn’t surprising to see their top-order batsmen hone their skills against short-pitched stuff that the Australian quicks are going to dish out generously.

The first of the four nets at the SCG’s practice facilities was dedicated just for this purpose with coach Duncan Fletcher serving, literally, the likes of Suresh Raina and Shikhar Dhawan the short balls.

Fletcher pounded down tennis balls using a racquet and Raina and other batsmen acquitted themselves well while effectively handling the bouncer test. The ball flew into Raina’s face and body at varying heights and angles and the southpaw ducked, swayed and pulled on most occasions though he endured moments of discomfort.

Raina’s struggles against short-pitched ball often get accentuated but through this World Cup we have seen batsmen with better pedigree in handling bumpers look askance.    

“I think naturally, in one-day cricket, short pitch bowling is used,” said Australian left-arm pacer James Faulkner when pointed out about India’s preparation. “I don’t think it is going to be any different, be it India, Pakistan or any other opposition. They can train how they want to train, that is up to them,” he said.

Faulkner, however, felt their bowling approach depended upon how the pitch behaved. “A lot depends on the wicket,” he noted.

“If there is bounce and carry, it depends on who you are coming up against. If you see a weakness you can try and expose. We haven’t spoken about the Indian team yet, it is only Monday. At the moment we will just concentrate on training and get ready to go. We will have our group discussion later in the week,” he remarked.

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