Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 1st day January 3, 2012

Gambhir facing his toughest test

India's struggles with the bat in Australia start at the top, with the form of their opener Gautam Gambhir
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India's batting troubles on this tour can no longer be wished away as another case of a traditional slow start. It must be viewed as a larger pattern, carrying on from their catastrophic summer in England where, barring one man, their top order failed to cope with the moving ball, both in the air and off the pitch. This series is only three innings old, and unlike in England, India have the bowling attack to respond in kind, but even the great bowling teams of the past required their batsmen to set up Test wins.

And unlike in England, where they were set back by injuries and lack of preparation, India can offer no excuses. They brought their top assembly; they had a couple of warm-up games; those who wished to, came here earlier; and Australia, fresh from their shock defeat against New Zealand, looked the more unsettled team. For the first time in the history of their cricket, India started a tour of Australia as favourites.

But as in England, a trio of fast bowlers, bowling aggressive and consistent lengths and moving the ball a shade, have put a much-vaunted batting line up under pressure. Apart from Sachin Tendulkar, who doesn't have the runs to show for the form he has been in, none of India's specialist batsmen have found any rhythm. In fact, most of them have given the appearance that it was only a matter of time before a ball came along with their name on it.

No one has symbolised this better than Gautam Gambhir. Earlier this summer another left-hand opener became a dead certain new-ball victim and lost his place after four eerily similar dismissals. Chris Martin merely needed to walk in with the ball for Phil Hughes to edge it somewhere to Martin Guptill. Gambhir has carried the same inevitability so far. Only that he has been more democratic, bestowing his wicket to all three quick bowlers in equal measure. Three innings, three edges, one each to Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and James Pattinson.

Gambhir's first-over dismissal today was embarrassing. For nearly an hour yesterday, he practiced leaving the ball as Trevor Penney, India's fielding coach, simulated outswing with the sidearm throwing stick that is a rage these days with international cricket teams. But he hardly gave himself an opportunity to put it to practice.

The first ball was so far outside off that even Gambhir couldn't have considered wafting at it. The second one was at the stumps and he patted it down. But against the third, a delivery that merely slanted away with the right-armer's natural angle, Gambhir conjured a dab to midwicket, his wrists rotating to give the shot direction, and the bat face closing before the ball arrived. When he is going well, this is a shot that gives him a strike-rotating option, but not presenting the full face of the bat to the third ball of the innings was perhaps a reflection of Gambhir's state of mind.

It is well documented that Gambhir hasn't scored a hundred in his previous 32 innings. During this period he has averaged 28.50 and his career average fell well below 50. But even in this relatively fallow period, there were three tough half-centuries, including the match-saving one in the final innings in Cape Town at the start of the year, demonstrating heart, application and the ability of bat through difficult periods. Gambhir was never likely to match the purity and quality of batsmanship of his famed colleagues, but it was his character that the team valued. And during his golden run, which spanned from mid 2008 to the end of 2009, he worked around his limitations to reel off eight hundreds, including a match-saving marathon in Napier that lasted 436 balls.

All batsmen go through fallow periods, but Gambhir's problems are exacerbated because his biggest weakness is best exploited by the new ball, from which he can expect no respite. Unlike his opening partner Virender Sehwag, who cares for no half measures and whose bat deals in ferocious straight lines, Gambhir's bat draws varying angles, often coming at 45 degrees at the ball. He is an ideal partner to Sehwag because his nifty dabs and nudges create the perfect options for singles. They produce edges too, but Indian conditions, where the ball often dies before reaching the cordon, are far more forgiving than those in Australia.

Gambhir's major challenge on pitches where the ball nips around at pace and with bounce is to make both technical and mental adjustments. His natural game revolves around manipulating the ball with the deflection of the bat, either guiding it with an open face or tucking it to leg with a closed one. It's an unusual method for an opening batsman, who is traditionally expected to deal with the new ball either with a straight bat or through abstinence. The England bowlers either found a way through his gate, or had him lob catches with an open face. The Australians, who have adopted the English length with dramatic results, are merely continuing with strategy.

That the Indian innings featured four ducks was the surest sign of the script having gone horribly wrong for a team opting to make first use of the pitch on a sunny day. But none was more debilitating than the first one. The Indian batsmen have a stiff challenge ahead: for Gambhir, it is the stiffest of his career.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 4, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    Looks like, it will be wrapped up before lunch 4th day. India should lose test status, if they continue to play overseas, since their players are simply flat track bullies. With the exception of Dravid, I do not see anyone has a heart to play overseas. And lastly, when will Sachin win a TEST for India? When?

  • pkhunter on January 4, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    Replace Gambhir and Laxman with Rohit Sharma and Jadeja. End of discussion.

  • on January 4, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    Mr. Gambhir, you should learn from others how to play on the Australian wickets. You are playing cross the line. play with the straight bat. Or will be improve after a 4-0 whitewash. Wake folk India Needs you. best of luck for the second innings. Or else we will loose this test with an inning

  • on January 4, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    INDIAN BATSMEN ARE LIONS IN THEIR OWN BACKYARD & BECOME JACKALS IN THE FOREIGN SOIL. YOU CAN IMAGE THIS SAME CONDITION IN LAST YEAR'S WORLD CUP, ENGLAND TOUR & EVEN IN AUSTRALIA'S TOUR.

  • Just_Do_It_Now on January 4, 2012, 4:22 GMT

    The way Indians are playing Test match cricket abroad over last 2 series clearly shows they are good only in their backyard & junk cricket like IPL. This series will surely result into another thrashing 4-0 whitewash & a humilating retirement for players like Laxman, Dravid, Ghambhir & Sachin. Good Luck.

  • rizvi252 on January 4, 2012, 4:16 GMT

    The Indian team is heading for the scenario that was repeated in England.

  • mojorisin on January 4, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    This sort of abject surrender would earn this Indian team no fans, home or abroad! Indian Cricket ceases to interest. Currently it is one batsman - Sachin and one bowler- Zaheer. I would rather watch England and SA at the moment or not watch cricket at all.

  • on January 4, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    India cant even survive a session of new and moving ball and we call it the best batting lineup in the world...pity. I still dont understand the need to bat first when they could have enjoyed the 2nd day with perfect batting conditions. I guess they thought Ashwin will play a part in 4-5 day...but thats not going to happen now OR will it? we will see.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 4, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    I think we've had enough of Sachin and Gambhir. Ponting and Clarke are breaking some age old records. Loll...Kapil phaji is such an astute reader of Indian Bowlers...hahaha.......Well played Ricky. Go on man. Go get your 250+ and Clarke will go for his. Australia 750/5 dec. India 20/3 and Sachin falls when India reaches 62. Sachin scores an assured, positive, in complete control, delightful, in great touch 24...and the legend continues....Guys please give us a break - Sachin, thanks for the memories...please go now......and may be Gambhir needs to come down the order. But even Dravid seems to be rattled. How can we risk The Great Wall by asking him to open? I'm very worried for Dravid amidst all these underperformers around him....;) Where are Dravid bashers? Sachin won't be scoring anytime soon. So, no point in hiding until he scores. Please come over and let's have some fun here with some Dravid and Sachin bashing. SCG test is pretty boring now.....

  • on January 4, 2012, 3:11 GMT

    Gambhir should not be dropped....Dropping is not the only way to handle this problem......Gautam should get his chances and he deserves it.........The team should have him until he attains stable mind and stability in his batting

  • on January 4, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    Looks like, it will be wrapped up before lunch 4th day. India should lose test status, if they continue to play overseas, since their players are simply flat track bullies. With the exception of Dravid, I do not see anyone has a heart to play overseas. And lastly, when will Sachin win a TEST for India? When?

  • pkhunter on January 4, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    Replace Gambhir and Laxman with Rohit Sharma and Jadeja. End of discussion.

  • on January 4, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    Mr. Gambhir, you should learn from others how to play on the Australian wickets. You are playing cross the line. play with the straight bat. Or will be improve after a 4-0 whitewash. Wake folk India Needs you. best of luck for the second innings. Or else we will loose this test with an inning

  • on January 4, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    INDIAN BATSMEN ARE LIONS IN THEIR OWN BACKYARD & BECOME JACKALS IN THE FOREIGN SOIL. YOU CAN IMAGE THIS SAME CONDITION IN LAST YEAR'S WORLD CUP, ENGLAND TOUR & EVEN IN AUSTRALIA'S TOUR.

  • Just_Do_It_Now on January 4, 2012, 4:22 GMT

    The way Indians are playing Test match cricket abroad over last 2 series clearly shows they are good only in their backyard & junk cricket like IPL. This series will surely result into another thrashing 4-0 whitewash & a humilating retirement for players like Laxman, Dravid, Ghambhir & Sachin. Good Luck.

  • rizvi252 on January 4, 2012, 4:16 GMT

    The Indian team is heading for the scenario that was repeated in England.

  • mojorisin on January 4, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    This sort of abject surrender would earn this Indian team no fans, home or abroad! Indian Cricket ceases to interest. Currently it is one batsman - Sachin and one bowler- Zaheer. I would rather watch England and SA at the moment or not watch cricket at all.

  • on January 4, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    India cant even survive a session of new and moving ball and we call it the best batting lineup in the world...pity. I still dont understand the need to bat first when they could have enjoyed the 2nd day with perfect batting conditions. I guess they thought Ashwin will play a part in 4-5 day...but thats not going to happen now OR will it? we will see.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 4, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    I think we've had enough of Sachin and Gambhir. Ponting and Clarke are breaking some age old records. Loll...Kapil phaji is such an astute reader of Indian Bowlers...hahaha.......Well played Ricky. Go on man. Go get your 250+ and Clarke will go for his. Australia 750/5 dec. India 20/3 and Sachin falls when India reaches 62. Sachin scores an assured, positive, in complete control, delightful, in great touch 24...and the legend continues....Guys please give us a break - Sachin, thanks for the memories...please go now......and may be Gambhir needs to come down the order. But even Dravid seems to be rattled. How can we risk The Great Wall by asking him to open? I'm very worried for Dravid amidst all these underperformers around him....;) Where are Dravid bashers? Sachin won't be scoring anytime soon. So, no point in hiding until he scores. Please come over and let's have some fun here with some Dravid and Sachin bashing. SCG test is pretty boring now.....

  • on January 4, 2012, 3:11 GMT

    Gambhir should not be dropped....Dropping is not the only way to handle this problem......Gautam should get his chances and he deserves it.........The team should have him until he attains stable mind and stability in his batting

  • on January 4, 2012, 2:45 GMT

    From the body language of our Indian cricketers i feel that its gonna be a white wash series once again.I predict that India will be all out below 100 in Perth test match at least in either of the innings

  • on January 4, 2012, 2:41 GMT

    Overrated player who deserves to be dropped. Looks miles out of his depth away from home. He should just stick to clobbering bowlers in the IPL along with other overrated players in Raina, Kholi and Yuvraj. India need to find players with techniques that stand up in all conditions, not just on a dustbowl.

  • me54321 on January 4, 2012, 2:13 GMT

    I'm almost beginning to feel sorry for India now. It really is a sorry state when the Indian bowlers are better than their batsmen. And their bowlers really aren't that good. The problem is that in recent times whenever a new young batsman has come into the team, he has been found woefully short of test quality. So here we are in a situation where the oldies aren't able to stand up consistently to good quality fast bowling, but they can't be dropped because their replacements are even less capable.

  • theRule19 on January 4, 2012, 2:05 GMT

    Slow low wickets in India are only to be blamed for the poor show of the current Indian team abroad. Because no matter whoever they choose would play in these same conditions and even these players cannot be judged as good players until they are tested in abroad like conditions. In India, batsmen score runs due to the placid nature of the pitch and bowlers go for plenty. However, abroad their abilities (or inabilities also right to say) are exposed where wickets are generally fast and bouncy. No wonder these batsmen have trouble facing short, pacy stuff. Its about time India prepares pitches that suit fast bowling that would prepare their batsmen against pace and moving balls. It also would enable them groom quality fast bowlers for the present and the future.

  • on January 4, 2012, 2:02 GMT

    I wont be surprised if the Aussies wrap the game before tea on day 3!! I don't really think there is a solution to it....Our batsmen just cannot play against top quality pace bowling...be it england, NZ or Aus.....The story will remain the same!! oh well, we, at-least have the world cup to savor for the rest of our lives, right??

  • krish75vijay on January 4, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    It is all because of our National Tourneys. We must have fast wickets where bowlers will learn to pick wickets and bastmen will know the art of playing on bouncy tracks. Unless this is done we cannot improve our performance outside sub-continet. BCCI has huge funds with which they can prepare both bouncy track as well as turning tracks and schedule the matches on all type of track. Performance in domestic cricket has no impact on the players performance in the international tourney. Coach should create big match temperament on the players. GRViswanath failed many times in the local matches. Inspite of this when he plays test cricket he is a different sort of player and produce results.

  • shabbasus on January 4, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    Can you believe he was world no1 some time back.. This is really hard to understand world no 1 team, world no1 batsmen, world 1 captain, world no1 off spinner, world no1 swing bowler, world no 1 media, but still not world best team..strange!! I think india being such a powerful board, should make ICC have them play only home series because that brings the best out of them..

  • only_sehwag on January 4, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    People are naive when they talk about dropping Dravid, VVS or even kohli..None of them are comfortable playing the new ball and that is the reason they bat deep...the main problem is gambhir...the opening pair should last at least 10 overs and wear of the new ball..then dravid and co can take over...it is also foolish to make gambhir bat at no.6 or 7...we have a lot of players waiting in the wings for that position...why not try them instead of gambhir?? Gambhir's USP is that he can open the innings...if he is failing repeatedly in that, then he should be dropped. Period.

  • on January 3, 2012, 23:35 GMT

    Get out of Test world and score 300's using One day statergy - quick runs. Depend on bowlers to restrict the opponents to 300s in a day or 2 - doesnt matter.

  • FoollyFedUp on January 3, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    Also heard that Arjun Tendulkar was seen in India colours in the nets...another record for SRT fans to look forward to, and marketers to flog : the Test where Dad and Kid both play together.

  • RandyOZ on January 3, 2012, 22:46 GMT

    Gambhir reminds me of Bell when Warne was playing, a walking wicket!

  • FoollyFedUp on January 3, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    A 4-0 thrashing looms. Grin and bear it. And then enjoy. India plays at home for 2 years. India can then drop both Dravid and VVS (the softest targets in India) and then play other worthies. And then India will start losing 3-0 at home too, because there is something called a 4th innings, for which RD and VVS would be required.

  • baskar_guha on January 3, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    The cat-and-mouse game is that Indians want to stay on the backfoot to negotiate the bounce and seam; the Aussies are using that to get them to play half-cock front-foot shots to make them nick the seaming ball. Only SRT perhaps because of his unique ability to judge length very quickly has shown positive footwork, especially off the front foot. The good news for the Indians is that there wont be much seaming from here on at Sydney, not much at Perth just bounce, and not much of either at Adelaide. That will favor the Indian stay back strategy.

  • usernames on January 3, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    The core of Indian batting will depend on these youngsters along with a few others who will take another 2-3 years to mature on the domestic circuit. If these guys (barring Tendulkar, of course, when he retires) are unable to handle high quality fast bowling, we're in for a dreadful 5-8 years. :-)

  • usernames on January 3, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas: Amen, brother! I have watched several passages of play where Dravid has negotiated a really, really good spell of top-class bowling. It's that sort of stuff that differentiates him from the rest. Not knocking down Sachin though, he is in a class of his own!

    @JackJack: Try better, sire! Most of the batsmen currently are inept for high-quality bowling, barring a few exceptions. Even Pujara looked suspect in SA. However, these guys need to be given time but then again, the selection has to be wise. Can't pick people on their ODI performances (a la Yuvraj, Raina). Strong FC track record a must. Here's my team: Gambhir/Mukund, Rahane, Pujara, Tendulkar, Sharma, Kohli/Manoj Tiwary/, Dhoni, Ashwin, Ishant, Zak, Umesh as the preferred XI. Harbhajan, Ojha, Jadeja as your backup spinners. Saha, N Ojha as the reserve wicketkeeper. Aaron, Praveen, Irfan, Vinay, Dinda, et al as your reserve bowlers.

    ...continued!

  • on January 3, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    @ Anthony Swan - Gambhir indeed conjured a dab to mid-wicket. The ball instead just took an edge and went to the waiting hands of the first slip. Hope it clears your doubt.

  • HypeBuster on January 3, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    Gambhir should watch the videos of how Akash Chopra survived in 2003-04 series. That is what he is expected to do. Play with a straight bat in the 'V', until he gains confidence. He has one more innings to prove, before Rahane comes in. Same goes for Laxman, as he has been given a looooong rope (including Eng series). All the media hype about Sydney luck has come and gone. Should cut the crap (from IPL attitude/money) and dig in and go for the long run, even if it looks dirty. Pride & Honor are more important than money. Hope they realize it, before they kill the golden goose.

  • jeetjain on January 3, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    40 wickets to fall and any of team wins a test . 13 already fallen on 1st day .At this rate 39 are going to fall at least in 3 days. Probability is even more as pitch will deteriorate further and 2nd innings always difficult to bat . I i swear this test will be finished in 3 days . :)

  • xylo on January 3, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    This might sound outrageous, but given that Ashwin started out as an opener, and has been batting sensibly except for dealing with the short ball, would it make sense to send Ashwin up the order when batting first? This would let Gambhir deal with a slightly older ball, and to get his confidence back.

  • anita1_cric on January 3, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    Probably Gaumbur can try batting like SRT/sehwag just swing the bat without any plan . Like SRT was trying to well left the ball , but the ball hit the bat and went for boundary .....SRT/Sehwag scores 50% of runs like this ...

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 3, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    For those people who moronically keep harping about Dravid's strike-rate, they don't have a clue. It is during these difficult passages of play that Dravid takes most of the strike, exposing himself to the brutal spells, keeps the bowlers at bay and his team mates safe. Being the technically most accomplished it is only right to assume that he will have a better chance of survival. What if he takes a single of every ball, rotates strike and exposes his team mates? There's a method to his 'madness'. There's a role that is defined and set in stone for nearly 15 years. Shameful lack of knowledge on the part of rabid Dravid bashers. See, what happened when he gets out during a difficult passage of play! NONE, I repeat NONE, have the spine to stand up and take India to a respectability. Take a bow to Ganguly for giving an insight about Sachin's inability to manouver difficult passages of play. Not for no reason Dravid is called The Wall. If The Wall's broken, paper god's exposed. Period!

  • on January 3, 2012, 18:13 GMT

    "But against the third, a delivery that merely slanted away with the right-armer's natural angle, Gambhir conjured a dab to midwicket" - the author may want to check the highlights reel on this one. He was caught at first slip.

  • rapidchase88 on January 3, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    Well, every thing should go fine for Indians, if you look at the preparation time they got for this series. It seems things are going fine for hosts as per their plan. They have very good strategy and I'm able see their plans in the match, when it comes to India, either they don't have proper plan or players are not upto the mark to execute it well. I think it will be very tough for Gambir and Laxman to comback good in this series unless they correct their game. Gambir is pushing the good length swinging ball and falling in slips, Laxman unable to play full lengh swinging ball as he used to play with backfoot. Now they are not allowing him to play with backfoot, with all full length swing deliveries. It is a challenge for Laxman to come up with his game plan. Laxman is always great against hosts, this time I really want to see this Hyderabadi how he is going to come up when they are not allow him to play his backfoot play.

  • Jerseyite on January 3, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    The fact of the matter is opening stand is extremely important and sets up the tempo. Gambhir needs to be dropped. I don't see him succeeding in Australia, which means end of the career for him. Success in Australia is an important benchmark for which many test batsmen thrive.

    In India, only Tendulkar has an outstanding record down under. Laxman and Sehwag have acceptable records. Dravid, contrary to public opinion, does NOT have a good record, or even moderate record there. His only important contribution and memorable one was in Adelaide in 2003, but barring that on closer scrutiny he has largely failed in Australia.

    Sanjay Manjrekar was a very good # 3 batsman for India, but he failed in Australia in 1991-92 (the tour that brought Sachin Tendulkar to the fore) and he has candidly said that that failure ended his career, as that brought forward how good (or bad) he was.

    Success in Australia is very important, and am afraid when Dravid finishes, he will not be a Great.

  • on January 3, 2012, 16:33 GMT

    Maybe not a bad idea to try Rohit and Ajinkya...they surely would not be worse than what the current incubents

  • rahulcricket007 on January 3, 2012, 16:32 GMT

    @kavindeven . agree with you . one more example which i would like to suggest is kallis whose first 5 matches record was horrible but after then he is brilliant .

  • JackJak on January 3, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    What we need to discuss about here is who are the real classy batsmen on the horizon. We know Rohit Sharma is..we know a bit about Pujara..What about the other potential classy batsmen in domestic cricket who have the technique to perform even in overseas conditions. Thats what the country needs to see now. How about Rayudu and Uthappa as wicketkeeper batsmen ..can they become good wicketkeepers or are they just being used for the IPL. How about Stuart Binny as an allrounder if not in the tests at least in the one dayers/T20s.is he any good-no harm in trying. He is Roger Binny's son so at least he will be a decent cricket who can bowl bat and field well? lets try a new set of players as the time has come. Lets try 1.Abhinav Mukund 2. Wasim Jaffer 3. Pujara 4.Rohit Sharma 5.Yuvraj Singh or Virat Kohli 6.Robin Uthappa/Rayudu as wicketkeepers 7.Stuart Binny(or)Irfan Pathan (allrounders) 8. Pradeep Sangwan(can bat) 9.Umesh 10. Rahul Sharma 11.Sudeep Tyagi 12th. Main Varun Aaron .

  • on January 3, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    It is hard to believe that there are vastly experienced players in the team who excelled against the greats like Mc Grath, Shane warne etc are not able to perform in this test series, I dont buy this dismal performance, I would rather take it granted if we have players playing like Rohit, Virat, Gambhir in the team as they would be the future of the Indian team and this tour would be vital to gain an overseas exposure for them, but definitely there needs some focus from the seniors to win this test series.

  • JackJak on January 3, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    Gambir is only there because of playing in India and scoring on lifeless pitches for a long time but its unbelievable that a person like Mohinder Amarnath around people like Gambir are still persisted with especially on overseas tours. Virat Kohli maybe only a few tests old..but on the Melbourne pitch where the ball did a lot more than here all of them were pathetic..This Sydney pitch looks so much easier compared to the other one and yet they were all out for 191..Only Rohit Sharma looks good for the future..And Pujara too might be good but we need to see more of him to say anything for certain..but other than that who the future good batsmen could be we will not know for because Indian's are so fascinated by statistics and records and hence the famous 3 a creation of the media never ever retire. This series would have been the best time to try some fresh batsmen and new bowlers would have made it a great series to watch. So what if we lose we are anyway losing.

  • Mann123 on January 3, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    Gambhir has shown in New Zealand and South Africa that he can play fast bowling under helpful conditions if he is in good form. Just the thing is the Aussie bowlers are bowling very well to him and his technique is not ideally suited for such bowling if he is not in form. To me Laxman looks most vulnerable. If he can stay with Sachin for a little while who knows. In last two innings, Sachin got out after he was running out of partners. Anyways, India does not play another test series outside sub-continent for next couple of years which will help develop more home grown bullies. Maybe it would be good time for passing the buck from these senior guys as there are atleast 10 other batsmen who can bat well in indian conditions.

  • r1m2 on January 3, 2012, 15:33 GMT

    Gambhir had been blessed with a lot of good fortune to play many tests in the comfort of Indian home pitches early on. He's racked up high scores, not unlike Vinod Kambli. As soon as he hit the bouncy, fast pitches or even swing bowling he's found out. He's even been found out on Indian soil, where pitches did a bit. I remember he complained after one of the home tests, about the pitch being too bowler friendly, against West Indies of all teams. India needs someone like Akash Chopra, with good technique on bouncy pitches to open with Sehwag. Gambhir is a joke.

  • on January 3, 2012, 15:33 GMT

    its better for india to bid goodbye to gambhir (in tests)... he had enough chances and he assertively told that he is not comfortable on bouncy pitches (both in eng n aus). maybe trying rahane is better option.

  • analyseabhishek on January 3, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    Complacency...! If he couldn't score of an anodyne WI attack on Indian pitches, then the writing was clearly on the wall. Ian Bishop in his wonderful restrained way had pointed the same out during commentary- that Gambhir will find it much more difficult in Australia.

  • Jube on January 3, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    Clearly India's middle order is past is 'sell by' date. We need to move on and make some harsh decisions. Dravid and Laxman need to start getting eased out - lets not just hold onto the past.... Gambhir's lack of technique is also clearly exposed. Sachin too is doing nothing extraordinary... lets not get carried away with 30 odd scores. If you're picked as a batsman you're expected to damn well stand up and bat out there and not get undone before you know it and hope for some small substance from the tail... Lets face facts - the bowlers are doing their job - our batsmen have been pathetic... and they've had the preparation time and all they asked for... We're just not as good

  • Yazdegerd on January 3, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    I'm just a cricket fan but yesterday, i really felt sorry for Gambhir when he was dismissed. The poor guys seems to me very disappointed. He is newly married and could be wife factor is there. good luck

  • on January 3, 2012, 15:08 GMT

    Drop him get Abhinav, atleast he will gain some experience. This guy has no will to perform..

  • ToTellUTheTruth on January 3, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    All talk aside, another 4-0 drubbing looming big time for India.

  • on January 3, 2012, 14:55 GMT

    Gambhir has to be sacked...I pity the selectors for they have no other option than this least impressive batsmen to choose from in the Indian team. He has NOT performed in the last 2 years in any form of the game.He lacks in footwork and has this good old Indian habit of meddling with the ball pitched outside the off stump

  • VPSrivastava on January 3, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    I'm totally aghast at their pathetic display of batting. I'm unable to understand the psyche of these great players. How are they coping with bruised ego and hurt prestige? A new lad called Pattinson boasting and questioning their greatness and they are not even shameful or are they? They should either collectively fight fire with fire or........resign gracefully from team India.

  • on January 3, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    no problem of gambhir,he is a class act its matter of time before he come with some great scores,dont worry gauti we r with u

  • Texmex on January 3, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    If Gambhir and Laxman fail in the 2nd innings my money is on them being replaced with Rahane and Rohit. Atleast they are not mentally affected.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 3, 2012, 14:43 GMT

    Let's keep it simple here. Kohli has to go. Rohit has to come in. Ishant and Yadav should try to maintain at least line, if not length, instead of spraying the balls on either side of the wicket. Horrible lines from those two. Dhoni's horrible field placements don't help either. Sachin, Dravid and VVS have lost it. Sachin seems to be continuing his horrible form from 2011 into 2012 - looking pretty and assured for his 30s and 40s and 50s but no further meaningful contribution by pressing further during difficult passages of play. I think he needs to retire or play an ODI to get to that 100th 100. It's proving too expensive for us now. What's the point in being a genius if one can't change his gears AND survive in a given dire situation, as you would expect from a genius. Dravid seems to have been rattled by the bowleds and the hit in the stomach at MCG - footwork gone for a toss. VVS - horrible is the only word. Gambhir's problems seem to be in between his ears. Hope he comes good.

  • Aspraso on January 3, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    India should continue with Gambhir -- sometime somewhere India will come across playing Zimbabwe, Bangladesh or West Indies ideally on Indian pitches and he will score his hundreds. ;)

  • on January 3, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    Gambhir must look back at what he did in South African pitches against much better bowlers Styne and et al. That will be a confidence booster much needed for him right now. He can score runs in Australian pitches. The devil is in his mind. Sooner he evicts better for him and India.

  • Romenevans on January 3, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    Those who are bashing Kohli are clueless people who knows nothing about cricket. This bloke has only played 5-6 test matches, it takes time to develop fine cricketers for long period guys! They don't just come in the team and starts scoring tones of tuns. Look at shaun march and David warner, they are also getting out cheaply by our rookie fast bowlers at their backyard, but aussie management isnt talking about dropping them. Ian bell, Hashim Amla,. AB Develiers they all came in the scene just like Kohli is going through this period. He is a star in the making and he needs time to learn and develop his skills. For Christ sake he is just a 23 years old kiddie. Look at these 40 years old daddies struggling to score runs and you expect kohli to score triple hundred on 2nd test match he is playing in Australia? Grow up people and think about future. It is time for Oldies to gracefully retire and let the team go through the re-development process.

  • JBJames on January 3, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    India batsmen showing their best real performances. Here we can differentiate Ponting and Hussey from the so called Indain top batsmen. Ponting and Hussey really playing with heart to win matches. Gambhir is not an exception from Laxman, Dhoni and Kohli.

  • kiranvg on January 3, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    I dont know what to say about the dismal performance about India. What I just want to say is if India gets a good start ie 150/0 then they will definelty win the test match remmember when we last toured it was akash chopra who just made it easy for dravid and laxman. even though he didnt score heavily he just made it sure that he was ther for atleast for a session and then sehwag scored from other end. I think gambhir being an opener should do this but he is not that kind of a batsmen.any opener when he is playing with sehwag should just see that he will be there for atleast a session then we can see the score reading with atlest 100 for 0 or may be 2 but not 100 for 4. Any opener who is playing abrad should do this that is what i feel. Just see the scores India has done well whenever we get good opening start.if the guy gives his wicket in just 10 overs I am sure the bowlers will bowl with thier tail up.Just Gambhi should make his mind that he will be there till the end of any sessio

  • ElvisKing on January 3, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Its a pity that the team continues to carry the players who are not able to play the short ball and that too the opener of an innings ! Its better they let these players go so that others can have a chance, others are just bystanders on this tour, none more so than the spin bowler Ashwin who has shown real solid game that an opener should have. Just because he is a rookie does not mean that you cannot try him, although you do have an option in Ajinkya Rahane, but he too was suspect to the short ball in England and that should make it amply clear to the Team management that trying out Ashwin will not go waste. The sooner the team management realizes this and uses his solid game to start the innings the better for India and it would definitely be worth while to try him in 2nd innings of SCG, since Ajinkya Rahane is not in the team. You have to provide chances to players who show real talent and be the one to give birth to a new Future Star Opener. Ajinkya can get his chance in the next

  • on January 3, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    India needs to restrict Aus to abt 350. If we can do so, we will be right back in the game. The conditions for batting would be much better in 2nd innings & I'm sure that Indian batmen will make hay ... I'm quite sure Gautam will come good in the 2nd innings. Chak De India.

  • on January 3, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Gambir is good batsman and should not underestimate his ability with three ininings especially where he got a gem of delivery to a batsman on nought.lets us wait for the second innings and i am sure gambir and indian batsmen will intimidate the aussie bowlers.

  • on January 3, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    Only performance I remember from Gambhir was in NZ few years ago.....may be the years of fame and money have caught up with him and made him complacent....

  • AjaySridharan on January 3, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    "Have I made it large?" - yes, very large ducks! Even Parthiv Patel would have given a few quick 40s and 50s.

  • on January 3, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    test in which he has already failed half way through.......dsnt have the mantle for big test occasions

  • on January 3, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Not his fault.. he is too busy to play for his IPL team.. he has to score well in that.. so why he wd be bothered abt scoring in Test.. Look Clark.& comapre hiim with Virat Kohli, Raina, Yuvi .. they are prime example of IPL effect.. they all score well there.. but comes Test Cricket .. they fail.. Clark plays for his country.. even Sachin .. played for IPL in full season.. but for WI tour.. he wanted rest.. he have gone too attacking because of IPL.. plays many shots.. which are required.. & get out.. with Viru.. thats ok.. but thxs to IPL.. every one is following the suit..yes we understand money comes first..then Country.. thats what we are .. a Crazy Cricket nation.. run by a Crazy money mined BCCI.. but we are happy.. we are winning a new game.. called T-20.. & losing Test Cricket.. which is the real cricket..

  • Bharath.Narasimhan on January 3, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    There is a proverb in cricketing world,Form is temporary Class is permanent,Gambhir was in zone for a period of time,that clicked very well but as every cricketer he is facing a major patch,if he is a good technician he would have sorted it out and come out in a very crafty way,you have to see punter the way he managed his major batting failure,slowly coming out of the bat patch.He(ponting) counts each n every ball as though it is his life,you can see how he plays as though he has got all the time in the world,australia started with a suicidal manner,but when pointing arrived he took the game away from us.Gambhir has one of the shabby footwork,that have to be sorted out,he saw the ball like a football before but now things are a bit different,it comes to him liken a golf ball.Everything relies on proper footwork,he can be either a front footer or a back foot guy.He plays like as though the world is falling apart.I still feel gauti or virat,they are not technically very sound.

  • on January 3, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    gambhir is an awesome player great class and technique but he is lacking in confinedence maybe make him sit out of next two games but is rahane too in good form ms has lot of confidence in him and its time he steps he has many times in the past shown he is a big occasion tough occasion player now again the sword is on he generally steps up on these occasions 2nd innings maybe his last chance atleast for test maybe i dont see ms axing him though lets see whatever that mayhappen should happen for the best but yes gambhir did bat poorely with others in 1st innigs

  • on January 3, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    Apparently Indian batsmen haven't learnt one bit from their summer experience in England. In the 4 intervening months, one would have expected these batsmen to practice and iron out the flaws in their techniques but sadly they didn't. No one is showing the necessary technique or gumption to hang in there and score runs with the sole exception of Tendulkar. Indian team appears doomed to sink to 6th or 7th position in ICC rankings in short time and from the present evidence will stay there for years.

  • on January 3, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    Make Gautam Gambhir go back to domestic cricket to correct his flaws ...till then its useless persisting with him. He should get rid of his prodding tactics outside the off-stump or closing the bat toward the leg. International games like this is not an ideal place to let him iron out his flaws.

  • indianpunter on January 3, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    I said it here on Cricinfo yesterday that Gambhir would be out with next to nothing on the board. I was wrong. There was nothing on the board when he nicked one today.I cannot fathom how he played this test. ( one test too many and now the colt has bolted). Gambhir was never the most technically correct batsman, but he had the mental fortitude and the will to fight, which has now been replaced by complacency and denial ( "I am in fine form, only that i am not getting hundreds ") after he became the 2.4million man. As a die hard Indian fan, i get that sinking gut wrenching feeling that i got when we were playing in England few months ago. A 4-0 thrashing beckons. And, Laxman, thanks for the memories, but its time.

  • Captain_Crick on January 3, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    The Aussie bowlers have very well learnt from the bowling coach the art of bowling in test matches - pitching in up for the top order batsman and letting the ball do the talking and bowling bouncers to the tail enders. It's up to the Indians to bowl to a plan with a consistent line and length instead of just bowling well in patches. Having said that, the Indian batting leaves a lot to be desired in the recent past. Unless the batting woes are fixed in terms of selection and proper application, the results would be open for all to see in the days to come. The question is 'Have the Indian batsmen, coaching staff and the selectors learnt from their past mistakes'?

  • Captain_Crick on January 3, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    The Aussie bowlers have very well learnt from the bowling coach the art of bowling in test matches - pitching in up for the top order batsman and letting the ball do the talking and bowling bouncers to the tail enders. It's up to the Indians to bowl to a plan with a consistent line and length instead of just bowling well in patches. Having said that, the Indian batting leaves a lot to be desired in the recent past. Unless the batting woes are fixed in terms of selection and proper application, the results would be open for all to see in the days to come. The question is 'Have the Indian batsmen, coaching staff and the selectors learnt from their past mistakes'?

  • on January 3, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Friends, Let us bear Gambhir for this series atleast. He is a proven batsman and he has 5 more innings to show his talent. Yes I do agree he has to learn to leave the balls outside off stump. We are talking about replacements, they will also do the same when they go out. So until unless we preprae seaming and bouncy pitches in india for domestic matches, nothing is going to change. So just requesting all the fans to support the current playing X1. When Kohli failed in first test (where everybody failed) we talked about replacing him with Rohit. This is what is the problem between us and australians where they give them a enough chance...Kohli has performed well before the series for the same reason he has got the chance. We tried Raina, Now Kohli, so let him play the full series. Rohit will get his chance one day.

    I hope indi will do well in remaing iniings.

  • Al_Pinto on January 3, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    Gambhir has been out of form for the last one year. Yet, he continues to play for India, while in-form Rohit Sharma sits out. What's wrong with this picture? Dravid had opened in England and is practically opening in Australia - why can't he be the official opener?

  • perl57 on January 3, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    GG cannot afford these chances like a Ponting or a Phil Hughes. This is no chancy team like Oz who do not have players to step up to. This is India and out of a billion we can have few.

  • PiyushD on January 3, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Out of the 7 batsmen India is playing. Sehwag (patchy form, did nothing worthwhile since his return except that ODI inning), GG (horribly out of form), RD(not in form), Sachin(In form but needs someone to steady the ship wih him),VVS(out of form),Virat(we have someone better than him in reserve),Dhoni(can't bat abroad). This team has failed miserably. Please make changes, if Rahane does not give confidence then please use Dravid as opener.Whatever is available in Australia from them the better 7 might be, if Rahane plays then drop VVS to include Rohit. Guys use his form. 1.RD/Rahane, 2.Sehwag, 3. Virat/VVS, 4.Sachin, 5.Rohit Sharma,6. VVS/Virat, 7.Dhoni

  • on January 3, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    make one magical change over here and bring out YUURAJ at team he is real hero..

  • usernames on January 3, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Gambhir is a very, very good player and I'm sure he will get out of this rut. He needs to be given some time however, international cricket, and that too against Australia is not the place to gain some form. He has to work on his technique however, that should be done in domestic cricket.

    For the next 6-7 years, Indian team needs Gambhir and I am sure he will come back really well. The problem is that a series of 10-12 poor knocks and then being dropped will make a serious dent in his confidence which, it seems, is already low.

    He's too precious a talent to be lost at this stage. The support staff/BCCI/team has to ensure that he doesn't go the Jaffer way.

  • atthipatti on January 3, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    If I were Gambhir, I would make myself unavailable and stealthily fly back to India and score a 300 at Kotla, while others in Australia search for me!

  • satish619chandar on January 3, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    Gambhir doesn't deserve the place on merit.. Napier innings was long time back and we MUST agree the pitch eased out.. His only notable contribution was in Capetown where he played out of skin to earn the team a good draw.. Rahane is not a good replacement.. He was clearly worked out by England bowlers in the ODIs he played and he can't play the cover drive.. Surely he will be a walking wicket against the Aussies.. Better we can open with Dravid itself.. Actually, Draid is already a pseudo opener for the team..

  • rahulcricket007 on January 3, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    what test ??? he is scoringf only in single digits . getting out in 3 or 4 overs . this is not called test , this is called SURRENDER .

  • on January 3, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    RAHUL,SACHIN,LAXMAN should retire ....atleast they dnt think of winning a series in AUSTRALIA and play as UNDERDOG, worse to see loosing with player of such calibre

  • KarachiKid on January 3, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    I think Gambhir still has got that something in him - he will surely get good scores, must matter of time.

  • on January 3, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    GAMBHIR is surely a class player .With experience and calibre everyone goes out of form and I think we should wait he gets back into form

  • BnH1985Fan on January 3, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    If Gambhir played for Oz he'd have been out of the team long ago. Somewhere Katich is just not understanding the irony of India's "patience" with GG

  • Meety on January 3, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    Unlike the Gambhir's great batting team mates, I've never rated Gambhir. I always thought he was a hometown specialist & abroad he'd be shown up. Given he is younger than most of the line up, I'd give him more leniancy, but someone between VVS, Viru, SRT & the Wall has got to go (assuming the 2nd test is well lost - early days on that one!)

  • dr.jha on January 3, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    its time we start selecting technically correct batsmen.. not sloggers, but batsmen. with solid techniques... not rainas and kohlis

  • on January 3, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    simply cant understand, Gautam Gambhir was the person who batted for 11hrs in New Zealand. And look at him now, cant even last for 11 overs. Is the appetite to score runs over? or has he got/achieved what he wanted and hence no need to perform anymore? Why cant we drop him now? Rohit, Rahane, Raina are awaiting their chances.

  • on January 3, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    very good article, i would say India are looking even more vulnerable in Australia rite now than they did in England, perhaps the pressure after straight 5 losses abroad is telling on them

  • dr.jha on January 3, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    he so obviously has problems with short ball... gritty sure... lot of respect for the character... not so much for technique... i won't call a batsman a batsman unless he can play short ball well.. and he doesnt .. but hey ... only two three ppl can in the whole indian line up..

  • RajitD on January 3, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    Gambhir needs to be made to sit out the next two games. He's too good a player to be gone for long, and he will be back, but not this tour..

  • on January 3, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    open with rohit sharma .. throw gambhir out

  • ssenthil on January 3, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    Gambhir has to go. No other options for him. One more Innings to prove he belongs to this level but I don't see any turnaround for him with the kind of Batting style he has

  • on January 3, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    Gambhir facing his toughest test - And he failed with flying colors. Some one pinch him, abuse him, molest him to arouse his self pride as i am beginning to feel he has no pride playing for his country.

  • Rags57 on January 3, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    If Gambhir's natural style of playing does not suit Australian conditions why is he being given such an extended run? Australia have been decisive with Phil Hughes and India needs to be just as decisive. While we can blame the middle order for not clicking, we have literally had Dravid face the new ball every time. With Sehwag failing in two out of three innings even Tendulkar has had to face the new ball. Some one like Laxman who can milk the bowling if he comes in when the ball is 30 or 40 overs old has been made to come very early on except in the first innings at Melbourne. If India is not decisive about replacing Gambhir (with Rahane or Rohit) they will continue to be sitting ducks for the Aussie paceman throughout the series.

  • balaji_k83 on January 3, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    I guess its high time that India drops Gambhir and brings in Rahane into the side. Everyone is running out of patience and Gambhir just can't be allowed to be in the side only based on past performances.

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  • balaji_k83 on January 3, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    I guess its high time that India drops Gambhir and brings in Rahane into the side. Everyone is running out of patience and Gambhir just can't be allowed to be in the side only based on past performances.

  • Rags57 on January 3, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    If Gambhir's natural style of playing does not suit Australian conditions why is he being given such an extended run? Australia have been decisive with Phil Hughes and India needs to be just as decisive. While we can blame the middle order for not clicking, we have literally had Dravid face the new ball every time. With Sehwag failing in two out of three innings even Tendulkar has had to face the new ball. Some one like Laxman who can milk the bowling if he comes in when the ball is 30 or 40 overs old has been made to come very early on except in the first innings at Melbourne. If India is not decisive about replacing Gambhir (with Rahane or Rohit) they will continue to be sitting ducks for the Aussie paceman throughout the series.

  • on January 3, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    Gambhir facing his toughest test - And he failed with flying colors. Some one pinch him, abuse him, molest him to arouse his self pride as i am beginning to feel he has no pride playing for his country.

  • ssenthil on January 3, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    Gambhir has to go. No other options for him. One more Innings to prove he belongs to this level but I don't see any turnaround for him with the kind of Batting style he has

  • on January 3, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    open with rohit sharma .. throw gambhir out

  • RajitD on January 3, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    Gambhir needs to be made to sit out the next two games. He's too good a player to be gone for long, and he will be back, but not this tour..

  • dr.jha on January 3, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    he so obviously has problems with short ball... gritty sure... lot of respect for the character... not so much for technique... i won't call a batsman a batsman unless he can play short ball well.. and he doesnt .. but hey ... only two three ppl can in the whole indian line up..

  • on January 3, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    very good article, i would say India are looking even more vulnerable in Australia rite now than they did in England, perhaps the pressure after straight 5 losses abroad is telling on them

  • on January 3, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    simply cant understand, Gautam Gambhir was the person who batted for 11hrs in New Zealand. And look at him now, cant even last for 11 overs. Is the appetite to score runs over? or has he got/achieved what he wanted and hence no need to perform anymore? Why cant we drop him now? Rohit, Rahane, Raina are awaiting their chances.

  • dr.jha on January 3, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    its time we start selecting technically correct batsmen.. not sloggers, but batsmen. with solid techniques... not rainas and kohlis