Indian team hoping to avoid a 3-0 loss

India are in for a whitewash against England unless the sight of Lord's and their past stirring deeds at the hallowed ground are to inspire them.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
  • Total Shares

London :

India are in for a whitewash against England unless the sight of Lord's and their past stirring deeds at the hallowed ground are to inspire them in the third and final match of the NatWest Challenge. India are 0-2 down in the series and there is nothing about their batting, bowling or fielding to suggest they have it in them to put it across the hosts who are on a real roll. Although the Indians have lost the series, Sourav Ganguly and his men will be determined to check the downward slide and win the last match to boost their confidence-level ahead of the Champions Trophy beginning next week. Lack of confidence The visitors are running out of options in terms of batting as there are only seven left in the party in view of Sachin Tendulkar's elbow injury. Captain Ganguly highlights the issue when he says despite Virender Sehwag's poor form, he might be left with no alternative but to start with the Delhi opener. "Sehwag has not played well at the top of the order. Obviously Tendulkar is injured so we don't have another guy who has played as an opener in one-day cricket," said Ganguly. Ganguly does not want to make changes just for the sake of changing and he makes a mention of Dinesh Kaarthik to press his case. Relying on the same team "I don't think wicketkeeping is an area where we need to worry. Rahul kept quite well on Friday. It is important to identify the problem areas rather than make a change just for the sake of it,” he added. Ganguly also does not think the team has suffered because of lack of practice since they have mostly played one-day games in the last two months. Before Ganguly could tackle his team's batting issue, he is also saddled with his medium-pacers who are being thrashed around the park. Laxmipathy Balaji and Ajit Agarkar had a horrible time in the field and Ashish Nehra and Irfan Pathan are proving only marginally better. Ganguly admits that they struggled with their bowling at the Oval. The first fifteen overs and the last fifteen overs were nothing to brag about. Psychological boost England on the other hand could not have had a better run in one-day cricket. Skipper Michael Vaughan was on cloud nine for winning the Oval match even though they were asked to bat first by India. "It is not easy to bat first in these conditions with the white ball and the dampness on the pitch. "We have not won many games batting first, so it is a real psychological boost," said Vaughan. Andrew Flintoff looks the star performer for England but Vaughan feels it is not right to say that others have been mere props in the team. "It is more than Freddie Show. We got off to a good start and then our bowlers bowled so well as a unit," he added. Vaughan's words are proved by the performance on the field as ageing fast bowler Darren Gough worked up real pace and movement and was richly rewarded with four wickets in his 10 overs. Avoiding the final blow As things stand, England are a vastly superior side and India appear condemned for another drubbing at the home of cricket. If India lose 0-3 to England it would appear to be a real blow to the team which made it to the finals of the 2003 World Cup. England had not even made it to the Super Six Stage in South Africa. Much has changed since then and that is the nature of international cricket. A season is enough to let a team turn around the corner. (PTI)