India face daunting task to save series

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India face an onerous task of saving the series against arch rivals Pakistan.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Chandigarh :

Pushed to the wall, India face an onerous task of saving the series against arch rivals Pakistan when they play the sixth Test tomorrow. They may have to play without their most experienced player and captain Dilip Tirkey who is down due to an injury. The showing in Delhi, where they lost 1-3 yesterday, should serve as an eye opener to the Indians. They must regroup themselves fast before the series, being played for the first time after a gap of five years, goes out of their grasp. Winning streak A victory tomorrow would ensure yet another series win for Pakistan, who are leading the eight-Test contest 3-1 after five matches. The side has so far emerged triumphant in five out of eight bilateral series with India taking two and the other ending in draw. It could be an extremely difficult task for the home team to beat Pakistan, who seemed to have settled into a rhythm after some ordinary showing in Pakistan. The possible absence of their captain, who was struck on the wrist and temple during the Delhi match, could affect their chances. Lucky survival Tirkey was lucky not to suffer any broken bones after being hit by a Sohail Abbas drag flick. But the impact of the rasping shot was so much so that he had to be stretchered out of the ground before being rushed to the hospital to get the affected areas examined. If Tirkey misses the match, it would be a big blow to the side containing a number of young players since there was hardly anyone who could match the veteran's performance on the field or his vast experience. India's assistant coach Jagbir Singh has already admitted that his side would be under pressure to deliver in tomorrow's match as even a small mistake would pull the curtains down on their hopes of winning the series. Playing under-pressure "Yes, my boys will be under pressure and I am not denying that. But all are quite capable players and I hope they will overcome this and play to their potential," said Jagbir. Jagbir also said that his side must not repeat the mistakes that it did in Delhi and should make the most of the chances that come their way to win the match. "We missed several sitters. When we were trailing 1-2, a goal there could have leveled the score and who knows may have squared the series as well. We must score when there is a chance," he added. Setting high standards However, staying alive in the series looks a distant dream for the hosts now as they need to overcome a confident Pakistan that boast of several match winners including ace penalty corner expert Sohail Abbas. Abbas would be itching to have a go at the Indians for he is just one goal away from becoming the top goal scorer in the world. With the double goal burst in Delhi, Sohail joined Paul Litjens of Holland as the leading goal scorer with 267 goals and the man from Karachi would not like to wait to make the record his own. "I am happy to join Litjens. Now I am looking to cross the mark in Chandigarh," said Abbas. (PTI)

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