Sehwag expects top order to fire and not let fans down
Livid with the flop-show of the top-order, including himself, India's stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag said its poor performance was the prime reason for the hosts' 16-run loss in the third ODI against West Indies in Ahmedabad on Monday.
Chasing a challenging 261 for victory, Rohit Sharma struck a classy 95 but the rest of the Indian top-order failed to fire and the team was ultimately bowled out for 244 in 46.5 overs.
Sharma, whose 100-ball knock was laced with 10 fours and a six, and Ravichandran Ashwin (31 in 64 balls) put on a defiant stand of 91 in 115 balls to keep India in the hunt after a top-order collapse.
"The total was ok to chase but we lost couple of early wickets with me and Gautam (Gambhir) getting out back-to-back in the second over. And after that we did not have a good partnership at the top of the order. If we lose early wickets it is difficult to chase," Sehwag said.
"We have to look at our top order. We have to click and fire. We have to give a good start as a team so that we can achieve any target or set any target for the West Indies in the coming games," added the opener, who fell for a first ball duck along with Delhi teammate Gambhir.
Image: Virender Sehwag
'It is our job to give a good start'
West Indian speedster Ravi Rampaul, who went on to bag the man-of-the-match award with a haul of four for 57, dismissed the duo off his first two balls.
Sehwag said he, Gambhir, off-colour Suresh Raina, and Parthiv Patel, who made a quick-fire 39, need to pull up their socks in the remaining two ODIs.
"It is not only (Suresh) Raina who is not scoring runs. It is myself, Parthiv (Patel) and Gautam who are not scoring. Only Rohit (Sharma) and (Virat) Kohli are scoring," Sehwag said.
"We are top order batsmen and it is our job to play well and give a good start. We need to look back at our batting performances," Sehwag added."We are playing good cricket since sometime, but today we were not able to play well. We hope to do well and not let down our fans," the stand-in skipper said.
Image: Ravi Rampaul celebrates after picking up the wicket of Gautam Gambhir
'ohit is the only player performing consistently'
Sehwag said the 79 runs scored by West Indies in the last five overs did not make much of a difference.
"The last five overs did not make much of a difference as they have good hitters and we were expecting them to fire in the series. They batted well, we tried everything -- slow, back of length good length, yorkers -- but they connected everything," he said.
Sehwag was all praise for Sharma, whose brilliant 95 ended up for a losing cause.
"Rohit is a talented player. He is performing very well. In fact he is the only one who is performing consistently. Hope he continues with his form," he said.
Image: Rohit Sharma hits a six during his knock against West Indies
'Rohit knows how to rotate the strike playing with tailenders'
Commenting on Sharma's ability to bat alongside tailenders, Sehwag said, "It is difficult to bat with tail-enders, but he knows what to do and how to rotate the strike and take runs. Rohit had good partnership with Ashwin today.
"And (Abhimanyu) Mithun and (Umesh) Yadav also played some good shots. We thought both would win the game but unfortunately we lost it."Asked about the management's decision to replace Varun Aaron with Mithun, Sehwag said the former had injured his toe in the morning and his nail had come out.
Image: R Vinay Kumar looks on after being bowled by Kemar Roach