Gambhir blasts brittle middle-order

This is not a stage to learn but to deliver goods, says southpaw

The nature of the pitch at the Eden Gardens has been the loudest point of debate in the last few days – whether it will be a rank turner according to the wishes of Indian skipper MS Dhoni or a typical sub-continent track with loads of runs.

As the first day of the third Test progressed, it became clear that the pitch would be more on batsmen’s side. But still India ended the day at a disappointing 273 for seven, and during their last three visits to this venue the hosts had piled up scores in excess of 600 in their first innings.

India had made 616 against Pakistan in 2007, 643 against South Africa in 2010, and 631 against the West Indies last year, but now that sequence is almost certain to be broken. Opener Gautam Gambhir was spot on when he stressed on India’s inability to build partnerships, and the middle-order’s failure to come up with big runs.

“You’ve got to stand up and deliver. It’s a good learning curve against quality opposition. You’re tested and thrown in the deep end. Except for Pujara none have been able to convert the starts. Someone like me and Sachin haven’t been able to convert the starts. We should have got big runs,” Gambhir said.

After getting hundreds in Motera and Mumbai, Cheteshwer Pujara may have been a victim of law of averages here, but the same can’t be said about Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh. Kohli has made 19, 14 n.o., 19, 7, and 6 so far in this series, while Yuvraj has scored 74, 0, 8, and 32 thus far, reducing the impact of India’s middle-order.

Even on a tougher track at the Wankhede stadium, India had finished day one at 266 for six, and the day’s effort might have come as a big let down from an Indian perspective.
Kohli has been edgy throughout the series, and often fell to casual shots like getting out off a Graeme Swann’s full toss in the second innings of the Mumbai Test.

Yuvraj has a superb chance at the Eden to convert his 32 to something bigger but a lazy drive off Swann ended his tenure, also exposing the late order batsmen to a top-quality English attack.

Gambhir dwelled on the need to shoulder heavier responsibility.

“After all you have to take responsibility rather than thinking ‘I’m only 7/10 Tests old’. Ultimately, you are representing the country.

“For me, when you are representing the country you have to deliver. This stage is not to learn, you have to deliver. We’ve got a quality side and these are early days,” he said.
Hopefully, the second innings will see a better outing.

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