Shaken India needs a disciplined effort to wrest back initiative

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Kanpur, Nov 10 (UNI) Having lost the second game from a position of strength, a shaken India will have to come out with a disciplined and collective effort if they want to wrest back the upper hand in the series when they take on a rejuvenated Pakistan in the third one-dayer at Green Park here tomorrow.

The tie is crucial because any side which wins will take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series and the other side will have to win the remaining two to win the series.

The last time the two sides met in April 2005, Pakistan had scored an easy five-wicket victory with seven overs left with Shahid Afridi smashing 45-ball hundred, the second fastest century in the shorter version of the game.

Now that Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys had undone the good work at Guwahati and the visitors were allowed to level the series from a position they could have been pushed to the brink, India will have to recharge themselves psychologically and address a few chinks in their armour, especially in the bowling department.

Pakistan are on a high after the sensational victory at Mohali and more importantly, all their key players are in good nick. All their top order batsmen, except wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal, were among the runs.

Maverick fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has been doing a decent job after his return from a 13-match ban and his confidence level must be on a high after taking two wickets at Guwahati and three at Mohali.

Though he was a bit profligate at Guwahati, he bowled miserly at Mohali conceding only 42 runs in his 10 overs in a high-scoring match.

The other main pace bowler, Umar Gul, was expensive in his first spell but was instrumental for stopping India from crossing the 350 mark with a superb second spell, taking the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir which triggered a mini collapse.

On the other hand, the Indian bowlers had an off day in office at Mohali and after tying down the Pakistani batsmen in the early overs, could not contain Younis Khan, Misbah ul Haq and Shahid Afridi from running away with a win. This was after Pakistan 's asking rate had climbed to eight per over in the 24th over.

What should worry the Indian camp was the number of extras the bowlers conceded and a repeat of this here would only spell disaster and put pressure on the hosts in the remaining two matches.


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