India's batting need to fire to tame Pakistan in 2nd ODI
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Wrecked by Pakistani seamers in their opening ODI match, India's under-fire cricketers will have to pull themselves up against the arch rivals when they clash in a must-win second cricket one-dayer here tomorrow with the form of their top-order batsmen a concern.
Pakistan pacer Junaid Khan had sucked the life out of Indian batting when his fiery spell of four for 43 in Chennai mopped up the top order and eventually set up a six-wicket victory for his team.
None of the top five batsmen could even reach a double digit figure and if it would not have been for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's heroic unbeaten 113, things would have been more embarrassing for the hosts who are trailing the three-match series 0-1.
Another defeat tomorrow would mean India's second series loss in less than a fortnight after England recorded their first Test series win (2-1) on Indian soil in 28 years.
With odds heavily stacked against them at Eden Gardens, a struggling India will be under tremendous pressure tomorrow to keep the three-match series alive.
It remains to be seen how captain Dhoni makes the famed top-order click with both Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir struggling to give a good start to the team.
In absence of retired ODI batsman Sachin Tendulkar, senior pro Sehwag is yet to take up the challenge and lead the batting from the front.
Sehwag had a poor 2012, accumulating 217 from 10 matches. Barring a 96 against Sri Lanka last year, he's yet to fire since his record-breaking 219 in December 2011.
The Sehwag conundrum is hurting India's cause and the Delhi opener will need to come up with a sizzling innings to give India a dazzling start, something that more often than not translates into a big win. Considering that Sehwag, who did not play the T20Is, specially figured in India's ODI scheme of things, his return to form will be the need of the hour.