Zeenews Sports Bureau
Adelaide: In-form senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar is likely to feature in the Indian line-up for the Sunday’s match against Australia at Adelaide Oval despite the rotation policy, which kept Sehwag and Gambhir out of the side from first and second matches respectively.
Opener Sehwag was rested in the first ODI against Australia in Melbourne while Gambhir for the second ODI against Sri Lanka in Perth. Sachin was next in line to sit out but the team management has decided to go against the idea, saying the policy is not rigid, it was reported in the media on Saturday.
However, the move to leave out Sachin could have ended up hurting the beleaguered team, if past record is to go by. In the last 22 years, India has won only five matches against the hosts in Australia and Tendulkar has always featured prominently in all those victories.
In 1991-92, during his visit to these shores, India beat Australia by a staggering margin of 107 at WACA, Perth. Tendulkar was then the second top scorer with 36 off 65 balls while Kris Srikkanth, presently the chief selector, led the way with 60 off 60 balls.
It took India a good dozen years to beat Australia again after being hammered for 11 straight matches. In 2003-04, India beat Australia by 19 runs at Gabba.
Tendulkar this time weighed in with 86 runs off 95 balls with eight fours. And India actually topped 300 runs on the scoreboard.
India`s next three wins came all in one golden summer of 2007-08 series. It began in Melbourne where India, chasing a relatively modest total of 159, won with five wickets to spare. Tendulkar top scored with 44 from 54 balls with three fours.
India then won two straight finals to claim their first-ever one-day series in Australia.
In the first finals in Sydney, Tendulkar slammed 117 off 120 balls with 10 fours to allow India to canter home with six wickets to spare. The target of 240 was achieved with 25 balls to spare.
Two days later, the two teams clashed again in the second finals in Adelaide. India set the pace early with 258 runs on the board. Tendulkar once again pounded off 91 runs off 121 balls with seven fours.
The stats above have two pointers -- one, Tendulkar still is key to India`s chances against Australia. Two, without one or the other opener firing successfully, India has never been able to pin down Australia.