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India face England in virtual semifinal

By The Assam Tribune

PERTH, Jan 29 (PTI): An under-fire India will be hoping to get their act together in the virtual semifinal against a better-placed England in the final league match of the cricket tri-series, here tomorrow.

Lucky to share two points with Australia, who are awaiting their opponents in the final, in the washed off game in Sydney, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side will not only try to address its bowling worries but also try to pull up its batting socks. Failing to register a win in the league stage so far, the Indian bowlers were unable to defend their 267 runs in their first match, while the team was shot for 153 in the second game against England.

All eyes were on Rohit Sharma�s fitness after the opener failed to take part in the last two ODIs post a fluent 138 in the team�s opener against the hosts but the team management is not looking to risk his strained hamstring so close to the World Cup. After undergoing a fitness test at WACA yesterday, Rohit batted in the nets for a while today and did look comfortable. But surprisingly he is still unavailable for selection for this upcoming match.

Ajinkya Rahane has shown flexibility with the think-tank still tinkering with the team�s batting order as Ambati Rayudu looks uncomfortable at the number three position.

Shikhar Dhawan�s batting form has also contributed to India�s dismal showing in the ODIs as the left-handed opener has just managed 11 runs in three matches to give the team a big reason to worry before the World Cup.

Dhawan enjoyed a brilliant outing in the 2013 Champions Trophy in England, scoring back-to-back hundreds that helped him accumulate 363 runs in just five matches at an average of 90.75. He won the man-of-the-tournament award back then, but ever since it has been downhill. The rest of the cast has also not been consistent and Virat Kohli is still trying to find his groove at the No.4 spot that the Indian think-tank seems to be settling him into.

Even after getting a lot of stick from the Australian batsmen in the Test matches and the Indian critics, the bowlers still continue to leak runs without picking many wickets.

With Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami still trying to find the right length all through the Australian summer, spinners Akshar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin find little help from the fast-paced tracks. Ishant though is expected to be given a run-in again after missing out due to the weather in Sydney.

A bowling all-rounder is what India have been searching for and if Stuart Binny, who scored a valiant 44 and picked up the only wicket to fall in a losing cause against England, can deliver if picked in the XI then the Men in Blue will fancy their chances against Eoin Morgan and company.

Match starts: 8.50 AM

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