Gros Islet, St Lucia:Jolted by the humiliating defeat in the last match, a jittery India go into the crucial third one-dayer against the West Indies here on Friday with the form of their top order batsmen being a worrying factor.
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Barring a couple of individual performances, the Indians have generally been a pale shadow of themselves in the first two matches of the four-match series and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team has a daunting task to put it across the hosts.
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With the series locked 1-1, both the teams will go all out for a victory at the Beausejour Stadium and thereby ensure that they cannot lose the series.
The Indians, desperate to make amends for their early exit from the World Twenty20 England last month, have not really looked convincing in both the matches and their perennial weakness to short-pitched stuff has come back to haunt them.
While the visitors snatched a narrow 20-run victory in the first game at the Sabina Park in Kingston, they suffered an embarrassing eight-wicket drubbing in the second match which will no doubt serve as a morale-booster for the Caribbean team.
The huge defeat will act as a wake-up call for Dhoni's bravehearts who had a string of victories to their credit till only a couple of months back. Suddenly, the team finds itself under tremendous pressure.
In the absence of star performers like Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, the top order batting has lacked the firepower and the poor form of Gautam Gambhir has only compounded India's misery.
Tamil Nadu's wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik has been tried out as Gambhir's opening partner in this series with mixed results. He scored 67 in the first match, but managed just 4 in the second game and it will be interesting to see whether the team management persists with him.
The failure of Rohit Sharma has been a cause of concern for the Indians and the young batsman has himself to blame for the rut as his shot selection has been atrocious.
The Caribbeans have exploited India's weakness to short pitched deliveries to a great extent and the batsmen have now been left with no option but to find a solution.
Dhoni himself has admitted that the batting has not been of a high order and has told his teammates to play more responsibly.
"We should have paid a little more respect to the bowlers (in the last match). The wicket was a bit difficult, it was swinging around a bit. We didn't judge the wicket well and just went around playing our strokes which really brought our downfall," Dhoni said.
"Once you lose too many wickets then the only thing that you are doing is catching up. RP and me had a partnership otherwise it would have been quite embarrassing," he said.
The Indian batting has relied too much on the in-form Yuvraj Singh although Dhoni scored 95 in the last match.
Yuvraj can be a highly destructive batsman when he gets going but it is high time some of the other established batsmen came to the party.
Yusuf Pathan has the ability to plunder runs at will but has hardly done anything significant in the T20 World Cup and the first two matches.
The Indian bowling has also lacked the sting and much will depend on off-spinner Harbhajan Singh to stem the Caribbean run flow. The pacers will also have to bowl in the right areas to be able to put pressure on the West Indian batsmen.
While the emphatic win in the last match will certainly boost their confidence, the home team also has to plug a few loopholes if it hoped to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
West Indies captain Chris Gayle was happy with the way his wards responded in the last game in Kingston but is also aware that a lot of work still remained to be done.
"It is nice to square the series. There were some good performances from the guys. (Ravi) Rampaul and (Jerome) Taylor set the game for us and from now we will look to go strength to strength," Gayle said.
"There was moisture in the wicket and Taylor and Ravi utilised it well, and the catching was also good, so we just need to keep working on our game", he said.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Yusuf Pathan, Murali Vijay, Subramaniam Badrinath, Rudra Pratap Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Abhishek Nayar, Ashish Nehra, Ravindra Jadeja.
West Indies: Chris Gayle (Captain), Denesh Ramdin, Lionel Baker, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Sulieman Benn, David Bernard Jr, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Runako Morton, Ravi Rampaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Jerome Taylor.