Inzamam keeps faith in attack

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The Independent Online

Pakistan may have the home advantage going into the deciding one-day international against India today but the psychological edge belongs to the visitors. The day-night game here at the Gaddafi Stadium will set the tone for the three Tests that follow.

Pakistan may have the home advantage going into the deciding one-day international against India today but the psychological edge belongs to the visitors. The day-night game here at the Gaddafi Stadium will set the tone for the three Tests that follow.

The Pakistan captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, was in despondent mood after his team were beaten here in the fourth game of the series on Sunday. His sombre face, accentuated by his trademark black stubble, was in stark contrast to the upbeat mood of the India vice-captain, Rahul Dravid, when they took questions from the press.

Inzamam has to contend with the lack of confidence that seems to have enveloped his attack. The bowlers have given away too many extras, and mistakes in the field have resulted in missed chances for valuable wickets.

However, the Pakistan captain has defended his bowlers, saying their little errors are easily remedied. "It's not that our bowling is weak," Inzamam said. "There has been the odd series where the batting or bowling hasn't clicked, but I still have confidence in my bowlers. I believe that all the boys have tried to put in 100 per cent effort. They are simple things, to stop the no-balls. The bowlers have to be responsible about it.''

He hinted that there may be changes to the line-up with a possible recall for Taufeeq Umar after a commendable performance in the practice match prior to the series.

Meanwhile, India were keeping their hand close to the chest. They are without their top three bowlers - the seamer Ajit Agarkar and the spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. They lost Ashish Nehra in the second game when the left-arm paceman split the webbing in his hand and had to return home. Still, they are confident they will be able to find that little bit extra in what should prove an exciting finale.

"If we play close to our potential we will be happy,'' Dravid said. "We've missed four or five bowlers and that would perhaps push any team back. But you can't use that as an excuse. International cricket is such that you have to accept these things.

"Australia have beaten us consistently in crunch games, but by the same yardstick we have better results against Pakistan in recent years. That would give us some psychological advantage for this game."

The Indian maestro Sachin Tendulkar added that the visitors would have to continue their superior work ethic in the fifth match. "In the recent past, we have not done well in the different finals we have played. This is a big opportunity to prove that we are not chokers,'' he said.

The team batting first has had the advantage in previous games, but the state of the wicket will certainly play a role in the outcome today.

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