Asia Cup: India aim to continue winning run
Mirpur: India would look to continue their recovery from the horror tour of Australia while Sachin Tendulkar would aim to the get the burden of a 100th international ton off his back when the team squares off against Bangladesh in an Asia Cup league match on Friday.
The 50-run victory over Sri Lanka was just the kind of start India needed in the continental tournament after being quite literally thrashed during an over-three-month-long tour of Australia.
The team`s batsmen, who were hopping about in misery on the pacy tracks Down Under, found comfort in the familiar sub-continental environs and made enough for their bowlers to come through despite leaking runs early on an unhelpful pitch.
But one man, whose woes seem unending is Tendulkar. The 38-year-old right-hander, who has almost every international record under his belt, has been without a hundred for over a year now.
The much-awaited 100th international ton has proved so elusive that it has raised concerns as to whether the stat is hampering Tendulkar`s form to an extent and the seasoned cricketer would be desperate to get the monkey off his back.
Tendulkar`s determination can be gauged from the fact that he turned up for an optional net session yesterday where only three of India`s 15-member squad turned up.
Tendulkar has gone 33 century-less innings, which is just one less than his longest barren spell ever. Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli have successfully carried their good one-day form from Australia to this tournament as well and both scored their 10th international centuries to make that point against Sri Lanka.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni also got some much-needed feel of the conditions when he pushed himself up the order against the islanders to fire an entertaining 46-run knock.
Suresh Raina too seemed to be recovering from the disaster Down Under in the batting-friendly conditions here. It will be interesring to see if Manoj Tiwary, who did not play a single ODI in Australia, gets a chance to play.
On the bowling front, the growing confidence of comeback pacer Irfan Pathan, who grabbed four wickets against Sri Lanka, is a massive plus for India. But given that express pace is missing from the attack, the bowlers would have to rely on their willow-wielding counterparts to bat oppositions out of the game.
Despite being overwhelming favourites, India cannot afford to be complacent given Bangladesh`s past record of being giant-killers.
They gave Pakistan a scare in the tournament-opener, showing they are quite a handful in front adoring home fans. Tamim Iqbal and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan batted well against Pakistan but the home team would expect stronger performances from the likes of skipper Mushfiqur Rahim and Nazimuddin.
Their top bowler Mashrafe Mortaza would also be expected to tighten up against a formidable Indian line-up, which is known to flourish in sub-continental conditions.
"We are confident about the next game against India and we are looking forward to do something good. It would be good game if we can restrict India within 260 to 265 runs on this wicket and I`m confident that`s possible for us," said all-rounder Nasir Hossain.
On the chances of senior India batsman Sachin Tendulkar scoring his elusive 100th international hundred against Bangladesh, Nasir came up with an interesting reply: "A good ball is a good ball for everyone irrespective of whether Tendulkar is playing it or not."
* The century against Sri Lanka in the first match was Virat Kohli’s second consecutive. Another century against Bangladesh will make him the first India batsman, and the fifth overall, to score hundreds in three consecutive ODIs.
* Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni averages 99.85 in 16 innings since the World Cup including nine not outs.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Manoj Tiwary, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Rahul Sharma, R Vinay Kumar.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain; wk), Abdur Razzak, Anamul Haque, Elias Sunny, Imrul Kayes, Jahurul Islam, Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza, Nasir Hossain, Nazimuddin, Nazmul Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Shahadat Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal.
Match starts at 1.30 pm (IST).