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It’s do-or-die for India

With the absence of Sachin and Gambhir, if India were to succeed in bowler-friendly conditions at the Dambulla International Stadium, they have to bank on the troika of Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni to give them a chance of winning the ongoing tri-series, reports Amol Karhadkar.

cricket Updated: Aug 25, 2010 00:15 IST
Amol Karhadkar

With the absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir, if India were to succeed in bowler-friendly conditions at the Dambulla International Stadium, they have to bank on the troika of Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni to give them a chance of winning the ongoing tri-series.

While Sehwag and Dhoni did their bit by being involved in the match-winning stand against Sri Lanka last week, Yuvraj was unfortunate to miss a match due to illness, after failing in the opening match.

And, when the southpaw looked like getting his touch back against Sri Lanka on Sunday, the rest of the batting crumbled like a pack of cards for the second time in as many weeks.

No wonder then, on Tuesday, a day before India's do-or-die face-off against New Zealand in the ongoing tri-series, the three senior pros dominated the batting stint in practice.

While the younger lot was made to sweat it out in the outfield, Dhoni, Sehwag and Yuvraj faced the bowlers for more than 40 minutes.

Looking at the dismal batting performance in the tournament so far, it would be foolish to expect the younger batsmen to fire.

In fact, the team management should bolster the batting line-up --- considering a seam-heavy Kiwi attack --- by adding a specialist batsman at No. 7 instead of Ravindra Jadeja.

Dhoni hasn't lost a series in Sri Lanka in all forms of the game whenever he has led the side to the Emerald Isles. And, he will have to do much more than just come good with the willow and gloves.

And for that to happen, the India skipper may have to come out of his premeditated mindset and surprise the opposition with a few tricks. One of the options could be to prefer chasing in case he wins the toss.

Despite the presence of Sehwag, Yuvraj and Suresh Raina — who is due for a big knock — in the batting department, India's bowlers have outdone their batsmen.

It would be worthwhile moving away from the tendency to bat first and choose to show faith in seam bowlers.

Even New Zealand skipper, Ross Taylor, suggested he was open to the idea of bowling first if the coin landed in his favour.

“If you look at most dismissals, swing has been a factor but it is mostly seam that has got most of the batsmen, so I wouldn't rule out bowling first,” Taylor said.

But we all know that toss doesn't decide the outcome of a match.

Time for the big three to prove their worth yet again.