Ruthless Aussie selectors

Opinions on the axing of Ricky Ponting vary. There are some who believe the former Australian skipper's time is up in one-day internationals. There are others who feel that he should have been given one last match at his home ground in Hobart. The Australian selectors are not driven by sentiments though, writes S. Dinakar.

Hobart is a peaceful capital. It has lovely hills and the Derwent River bisects the city. The 1.8km bridge across the river gleams under lights at night. It is a spectacular sight. Sadly, Tasmania's biggest cricketing hero, Ricky Ponting, is dropped from the Australian squad for the remainder of the tri-series. The Australian selectors are once again ruthless.

The opinions are varied — from a feeling of resignation to anger — in Hobart. There are some who believe Ponting's time is up in one-day internationals. There are others who feel that he should have been given one last match at his home ground. The Australian selectors are not driven by sentiments though.

Ponting's days in ODI cricket are over. The man who led Australia to two World Cup triumphs now says he wants to concentrate on Test cricket. In the game's longer version, the Punter still seems to have some gas left in the tank.

Meanwhile the Indians look at the odds at the Bellerive Oval in order to keep their hopes alive. After conceding a bonus point to Australia at the SCG, they now need to defeat the Sri Lankans by a bonus point to stay in the hunt.

There has been some bad blood between the Aussies and the Indians at the packed SCG ground. David Hussey, perhaps, is fortunate to escape being out handling the ball; the umpires believe the batsman only stopped the ball from striking his body. The wise men feel Hussey was taking evasive action. The Indians are not pleased.

Then Sachin Tendulkar, possibly playing his last game at his beloved SCG, is unhappy as he is ruled run-out. The maestro thinks bowler Brett Lee got in his way as he attempted to sprint to the other end.

Controversies do follow India-Australia cricket. Dhoni says at the end of the match — in which India has been battered — that according to the laws of the game David Hussey is out.

The Indians next pull a rabbit out of the hat at the Bellerive Oval. Virat Kohli comes up with a blinder, whipping Lasith Malinga's yorkers as if he were batting in the nets. His unbeaten 133 comes in no time. The Indians, in a terrific chase on a flat track, make 320-odd in less than 40 overs.

Can Australia beat Sri Lanka in the final league game at the MCG to send India into the finals?

The Sri Lankan fans light up the SCG. You almost get the feeling that you are at the Premadasa Stadium. The Sri Lankan flags are omnipresent. And the ambience lifts the Sri Lankan side. Mahela Jayawardene's men emerge victorious, and India is out of the competition.