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Far from madding crowd, Viru-Gauti begin their '2nd innings'

Gurgaon, March 18, 2013 (PTI) 2:50 IST
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They have walked in together at the start of the innings on innumerable occasions but on Monday, at a nondescript ground called Teri Oval, long time opening partners Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir began the second and inarguably the toughest innings of their cricket careers.

While Mahendra Singh Dhoni's India were inching towards a 3-0 series win over Australia, Gambhir and Sehwag, clad in their yellow Delhi jerseys, were getting ready to chase down a 161-run victory target against Punjab with not even 100 people in attendance.

This was a battle not to chase down a stiff target but to save their international careers which have been affected by 'Cyclone Dhawan' and 'Operation Vijay'.
Nearly five years of stupendous success, one could have hardly imagined that both will be in their cricketing gears but around 450 kms away from Mohali where they would have ideally liked to be.

So how was their performance on the day? On paper, certainly impressive as they added 76 runs in a little more than eight overs with Sehwag cracking 36 off 26 balls, including five boundaries, and Gambhir anchoring the chase with a 54-ball 68.
Looks like good preparation for IPL but there's more to that.

Beyond the numbers, their performance certainly wasn't something to write home about. Sehwag started by lifting seamer Sandeep Sharma over mid-on for a boundary but the next couple of fours were streaky shots.

Sehwag was playing without those spectacles but the manner of his run-out will again put questionmarks on his casual approach.

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