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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014

Cricket

Careers on line as under-fire India take on England
PTI
Nagpur, December 12, 2012
First Published: 12:46 IST(12/12/2012)
Last Updated: 12:50 IST(12/12/2012)

Down in the dumps after back-to-back defeats, India's under-fire cricketers will have to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and compete on equal footing against a confident England in the perform-or-perish fourth and final Test commencing in Nagpur on Thursday.

Trailing the buoyant visitors 1-2 in the rubber after being outplayed in the second and third encounters at Mumbai and Kolkata, the home players need to sort themselves out on several fronts to level the series at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha.

Under-performing senior players in the Indian line-up, including skipper Mehendra Singh Dhoni and veteran batsman Sachin Tendulkar, are under severe pressure not only to lift the side with supreme personal efforts but also to save their careers after India's spineless displays at the Wankhede Stadium and the Eden Gardens.

It would need a monumental display of grit and determination from several below-par players if India are to bounce back from this dismal situation and prevent England from walking off with their first Test series win in India in 28 years.

The home team needs to buck up not just in one department but in several to stop the visiting team from running away triumphant for the first time since David Gower's outfit in 1984-85.

Indian openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag have been pretty casual in their approach thus far, in stark contrast to the grinding efforts of rival skipper Alastair Cook, England's top batsman in the series, and rookie Nick Compton, who has slowly and steadily found his feet after a nervous debut in Ahmedabad's opening Test.

The middle order has been pathetic with only Cheteshwar Pujara showing spunk in the first two Tests before going off the boil.


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