The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India aim to draw level on grassless pitch
- I’m not worried at all... We have a great team which can bounce back anytime, says Dravid

Mumbai: Experimentation and toying with new ideas will continue even though the Men in Blue are trailing the Pepsi Cup ODI series 1-2 against South Africa. The Indians are on Mission 2007 World Cup and that remains their top priority. So the possibility of Team India springing another surprise in the fifth and final ODI at the Wankhede cannot be ruled out.

“It is a long journey till 2007 and in every match we will try different things, no matter what the others say,” coach Greg Chappell said at the pre-match media conference on Sunday.

Rahul Dravid was a bit more aggressive, saying “the worry of losing Monday’s encounter will not prevent us from trying new things on a daily basis.”

While admitting that the team did not bat well in Calcutta, the Indian captain said: “I am not worried at all as I know we have a great team which has the potential to bounce back anytime.”

It’s a do-or-die battle for India who have to win and square the series since the visitors have an unbeatable lead.

Dravid, in fact, spent a lot of time around the wicket to ensure there was no sign of grass. Dravid got like minded people in Chappell, chief selector Kiran More, and of course Sachin Tendulkar, to convince Sudhir Naik (the curator) of doing away with the greenish look of the wicket.

The message was clear: We don’t want things to go the Eden Gardens way.

Both Chappell and Dravid said they were not worried about the dew factor, but it is likely that the Indians will bat first to avoid any difficulty in the evening.

The line-up may also see a change ' Jai Prakash Yadav coming in for Murali Kartik as super sub.

Dravid’s South African counterpart Graeme Smith skipped the media conference. Deputy Mark Boucher said they don’t expect any grass on the turf, but was still hopeful that Shaun Pollock and Co. will come up with another scintillating show.

South Africans also stayed away from announcing the side and indications are that they might go with the same combination that fetched them a 10-wicket win at the Eden.

Both parties, it seems, would chose to bat first on winning the toss, put up a formidable total and then put the pressure on the opponents under the lights.


India (from) Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan,Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, Rudra Pratap Singh, Jai Prakash Yadav, Murali Kartik, Suresh Raina, S. Sreesanth

South Africa (from) Graeme Smith, Andrew Hall, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, Mark Boucher, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Shaun Pollock, Johan Botha, Robin Peterson, Albie Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel, AB de Villiers, Justin Ontong

Umpires: Daryl Harper and K. Hariharan
TV: I. Sivaram
Match Referee: Jeff Crowe
Match starts: 2.30 pm

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