Track record gives India hope
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As the Indian players warmed-up at the brand new Khanderi Stadium, the morning glow of the rising sun would have come as a welcome relief. From Chennai to Kolkata to Delhi the elements have only further added to the woes of the Indian batsmen. In the south overnight rains had made the wicket lively and India were reduced to 29 for five before a fighting century from Dhoni gave the total respectability.
In the next two games the winter chill provided assistance and the Pakistan pacers excelled. In both these games, MS Dhoni's side were bowled out for less than 200. And though they bowled out Pakistan and recorded a consolation win in Delhi; again in extremely bowler-friendly conditions, once again the batsmen didn't do their reputation any good.
Poor form remains a concern as India prepare to play England in the first One-day International in this five-match series. Any worry that the Indian batsmen had about having to play in conditions helpful to the tall and strong England pacers would have evaporated as the wicket baked under the sun.
The nature of the wicket at Rajkot makes it a typical sub-continent track, which should make life easier for the batsmen.
In the Challenger Trophy played at this venue in October, 2263 runs were scored in four 50-over games. In five innings, 300 or more runs were scored with five centuries. In last Ranji Trophy game here Cheteshwar Pujara slammed unbeaten 203 against Madhya Pradesh while in the Mumbai vs Saurashtra game one double hundred and two centuries were made.
The Indian batsmen will have to take full advantage of the batting conditions as the team hopes to revive their form. Following their reverses to England in the Test series and Pakistan in the ODI series, the hosts will be hoping for a turnaround. England, with just one win in 16 ODI games here, should be beatable at least on paper.
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