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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Sehwag, Gambhir face testing time in must-win game for India 'A'

Sehwag, Gambhir face testing time in must-win game for India 'A'

October 08, 2013 15:30 IST

Sehwag, Gambhir face testing time in must-win game for India 'A'

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Out-of-favour batsmen Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir will be looking to come good and regain lost pride when India ‘A’ takes on West Indies ‘A’ in the third and final unofficial Test, in Hubli on Wednesday, needing nothing less than a victory to level the three-match series.

The tourists lead the series after winning the first match comprehensively. They took the first innings lead in the second match but had to settle with a draw.

Sehwag and Gambhir are desperately looking for runs to impress the selectors and regain their places in the national side. In the previous Test Shimoga both disappointed, Gambhir scoring 11 and Sehwag just 7.

Sehwag has not scored a century in 30 Test innings, while Gambhir's dry run with the bat has seen him without a hundred in 40 innings since January 2010.


Image: Virender Sehwag Sehwag hasn't scored a century in 30 Test innings


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Even pacer Zaheer Khan, who is also trying to get back into national reckoning, had a dismal outing in the last match, finishing with figures of two for 93.

However, to Zaheer’s defence, it must be said the pitch was slow, with not much assistance for the seamers, and the former India pacer was playing his first match after a year's gap.

Zaheer has failed to take five wickets in a Test innings since October 2010, and his fitness and endurance have also been a concern.

After the 2011 World Cup, he played just seven Tests.

The trio will be keen to go out in a positive frame of mind and make this Test count.


Image: After the 2011 World Cup, Zaheer Khan has played just seven Tests
Photographs: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

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India 'A' captain Cheteshwar Pujara, besides motivating the team, will also be looking to put behind his own disappointing performance in the last two matches, in which he scored just 45 runs from three innings.

The Saurashtra batsman knows the importance of the match and will try to repeat what he did during the South Africa ‘A’ tour, on which he scored a blistering century.

While Pujara is hoping both Sehwag and Gambhir come good in the match, he is banking on opener V A Jagadeesh and middle-order batsmen Abhishek Nayar and Uday Kaul to provide stability to the team.

The three of them hit brilliant half-centuries as India ‘A’ posted a respectable 359 in reply to West Indies A's 406 in the first innings of the last match.

There could be some changes in team, with all-rounder Paras Dogra, middle-order batsman Sheldon Jackson or Mumbai pacer Dhawal Kulkarni making their way into the playing eleven.

With his nine-wicket haul in the previous match, Baroda left-arm spinner Bharghav Bhatt will be heavily relied upon.

After an impressive outing in the first match, in which he pocketed seven wickets, Parveez Rasool had a forgettable show in the second 'Test' and will be looking to make a point with his off-spin.


Image: Cheteshwar Pujara has scored just 45 in three innings against West Indies 'A'
Photographs: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

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Sehwag, Gambhir face testing time in must-win game for India 'A'

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In contrast, West Indies ‘A’, riding high after winning the first Test, need just a draw to seal the series. But they will certainly be aiming for another win, especially with their batsmen and spinners in top form.

Kirk Edwards has done a good job as captain and Kraigg Brathwaite, Assad Fadudin, Narsingh Deonaraine, Leon Johnson and Nikita Miller, will all look to carry on their good work.

Kieran Powell will also like to be among runs after a couple of bad innings.

The West Indian bowlers, especially the spinners, have come to the party by exploiting the Indian conditions effectively in the last two matches and will be hoping to maintain the good showing.

Teams (from)

India ‘A’: Cheteshwar Pujara (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sheldon Jackson, Abhishek Nayar, Paras Dogra, Uday Kaul (wk), Mohammad Kaif, Parveez Rasool, Bhargav Bhatt, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zaheer Khan, Ishwar Pandey, Mohammad Shami.

West Indies ‘A’: Kirk Edwards (capt), Kieran Powell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Miguel Cummins, Narsingh Deonarine, Assad Fudadin, Jahmar Hamilton, Delorn Johnson, Leon Johnson, Nikita Miller, Veerasammy Permaul, Shane Shillingford, Chadwick Walton. 


Image: Kraigg Brathwaite
Photographs: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

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