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Batsmen will hold the key to success

india Updated: Sep 05, 2007 00:36 IST
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India refuse to fade away from this fascinating ODI series. There's a resilience in the side which allows it to survive glaring slips. India dropped their quota of catches in the 5th ODI and there were the usual misfields, but someone or the other is raising his hand in the rescue mission. Sachin Tendulkar set the ball rolling with his best batting of the tour. Being put into bat worked for India and later, Sourav Ganguly's contribution with the bat faded in comparison to what he did with the ball.

England had set up a cracking pace and but for Ganguly's twin strikes, it would have been anyone's game. Ganguly rose to the occasion magnificently with fine support from M.S. Dhoni, outstanding behind the wicket. Yuvraj Singh at four played another brilliant innings.

I'm sure England would not have an easy time in the last two games. India believe England are fragile under pressure, which is applied best when batsmen put runs on the board. How dearly Dravid would hope to win the toss and bat first in the last two games!

I suspect India will stick to the seven-batsmen theory, expecting them to scatter the inexperienced England attack. You can drive on the up at The Oval, the outfield is lightning quick, and that should make the batsmen's eyes light up. England fret over the fitness of Freddie Flintoff, Ravi Bopara and Chris Tremlett --- all three doubtful for the T20 World Cup. And Kevin Pietersen has done little of note in the series, so the in-form Paul Collingwood might consider coming up the order. For India, there is nothing new except that the fire still burns brightly in the hearts of the seniors. They believe that this England side can be overcome. The spinners have been outstanding and Yuvraj, Ganguly and Tendulkar are good for a handful of overs. The question, though, still would be whether the batsmen can play their part. They hold the key to India's turnaround in what promises to be a fitting finale to a fascinating summer of cricket.