Dhoni calls upon seniors to assume more responsibility

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Hobart, Feb 25 (UNI) After the top-order collapse against Australia, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today expressed hope that the out-of-form senior batsmen will asume more responsibility in the important tie against Sri Lanka here tomorrow.

''The senior batsmen can contribute more. Especially if you see the matches we have played up until now,'' Dhoni told the Telegraph.

''Gambhir is one of the batsmen who has been consistent. Rohit Sharma has done well in patches and I've scored a few runs. If the first five batsmen can contribute and put up significant partnerships, then the lower order - me coming at five or six and Uthappa after me - can really go after the bowlers,'' he added.

India lost to Australia yesterday by 18-runs, having been bowled out for 299 while chasing a victory target of 318.

Left-hander Gautam Gambhir hit a superb century (113) and was supported by Dhoni (36) and Robin Uthappa (51), but they were unable to stay at the crease due to the pressure of a demanding run rate.

However, Dhoni is corcerned by the current dip in the form of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh.

''It's very important to get the initial partnerships going,'' he said.

''If Sehwag, Tendulkar and Yuvraj do well, it gets easier for the batsmen to follow. But it hasn't been the story until now.'' India will book their place in the best-of-three finals if they can beat Sri Lanka tomorrow and Dhoni has called upon his teammates to play their part.

''We have a very important game against Sri Lanka and would like to win and get into the finals rather than wait for the Sri Lanka-Australia game,'' he said.

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