India looks to Sehwag to shore up batting

August 4th, 2011 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Virender Sehwag Northampton, Aug 4 (IANS) All eyes will be on Virender Sehwag as the Indian cricket team look to get their act together in their two-day match against Northants beginning Friday.

India have plenty of issues to address as they prepare to salvage pride and their world No.1 ranking in the remaining two Tests after getting a drubbing in the first two. The third Test begins Aug 10 at Edgbaston.

Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and Sehwag’s opening partner Gautam Gambhir will also test themselves after being sidelined for the second Test at Trent Bridge with injuries. Zaheer strained his hamstring in the first innings of the Lord’s Test and since then the left-armer has been warming the bench. Gambhir bruised his elbow after being hit by Jonathan Trott.

Sehwag missed the series against West Indies and the first two Tests against England because of a shoulder surgery. With Indian batting barely being able to stand up against the English attack, Sehwag is looked upon as a rescuer. It will be tough for the charismatic opener though to find his feet against the moving ball. The two-day match will be his best chance to get some vital match practice before the third Test.

Sehwag has been a game changer for India and the team needs a touch of inspiration that can lift its morale. The Delhi dasher has done that numerous time in the past as he is known to take the fight to the opposition.

He has scored his Test runs at a quicker pace than anyone else. Of his 22 Test centuries, 14 have been scores of more than 150. When India beat England in Chennai in 2008, chasing a remarkable 387 to win on a turning pitch, it was Sehwag who stunned the visitors on the fourth evening, racing to a 68-ball 83.

Sehwag was not selected for India’s tour here in 2007 and in 2002 he scored a century at Trent Bridge, but still averaged just less than 40 in the four Tests.

Overall, in the three formats in 39 matches against England he has made just two hundreds.

Northampton captain Andrew Hall said they will not make it easy for the visitors.

“We’ve got a strong (bowling) line-up that can really keep them down and get wickets,” Hall told BBC Radio.

“It’s going to be good to get in there, work them over and get some wickets — to put guys under pressure. We don’t want them to have it all their way.”

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