India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 3rd day November 25, 2012

Gambhir clings to slim victory chance

ESPNcricinfo staff

Gautam Gambhir was drawing inspiration from his debut Test even as India stared at defeat against England in Mumbai. Eight years ago, at the same ground, Gambhir saw three India spinners run through Australia's batting to defend 106 in the fourth innings. That after India had fallen behind by 99 runs in the first innings.

Gambhir knows, though, that it took crazy innings from VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar to revive India in the second innings. Gambhir is unbeaten on a high-quality 53, but with seven wickets gone and just India just 31 ahead, he knows he will have to at least double his own score to give India any chance.

"We have three wickets in hand," Gambhir said at the end of the third day's play. "We have to be positive. If Bhajji and I can put on a partnership tomorrow, and if we can get 100-120 ahead, the game is on. If we can be 110 for 7, there is no reason why we don't have a chance to bowl them out. Important thing is, we give the bowlers runs.

"We can't give them 50 runs and expect them to win us the game. We need decent runs on the board. If we have one good partnership, anything is possible. Even in my debut Test, here, we bowled Australia out for 70-80 [93] in the fourth innings. Anything is possible. It's a matter of getting runs on the board."

However, even if Gambhir and the rest put on a target of 120 or above for England, their bowlers will need a huge improvement on their effort in the first innings. Gambhir said the spinners didn't bowl badly, despite a 206-run partnership between Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen, but they didn't bowl at the right pace on this pitch. "I personally felt that they bowled a little quicker in the air," Gambhir said. "If you have bite in the wicket, and if you bowl quicker in the air, some balls spin, some balls keep straight.

"I felt that at times we tried to bowl too fast, and at times we tried to bowl too slow. It's important to know what speed you need to bowl on wickets that have turn and bounce. Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann bowled at the ideal speed, which troubled us. We were getting turn and bounce as well, but I think it was just the speed that made the difference today."

That, though, didn't mean the England spinners bowled better, Gambhir said. "I didn't say their spinners bowled better than us," he said. "I just said they bowled at the right speed. It's not that our spinners didn't bowl well. If you take out that partnership, none of their batsmen contributed in a big way. That showed our spinners bowled pretty well as well. Important on this wicket is to bowl at the right speed. Maybe they got the idea of bowling at the right speed. That is what Swann and Panesar did."

Gambhir was confident that if he somehow managed to give India a fighting lead, the spinners would show they have learned their lesson. "We won't come here tomorrow for just the formality," Gambhir said. "Miracles have happened before. Things can change quickly. Anything is possible if we put runs on board."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    Gambir played well and there is always hope. But his analysis that the Indians bowled well except thar 200 plus partnership is not a great analysis -as a whole Indian blowers bowled poorly.

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    Gumbhir should not tel "they bowled at the right speed" ... according to gambhir's analysis there was no any scores apart from peterson's and cook's.. why didnt he tell without pujara & ashwin, India's score card like nothing. Simply we could say indian spinners outballed by panisar & swaan ...

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2012, 1:08 GMT

    What Gambhir does not mention is the wrong line Indian spinners kept bowling.When the ball is moving as much as it has been,it is a waste not to let batsmen play the ball.If the line is right at off and middle the batsmen are forced to play and provide edges to close in fielders. India spinners have been bowling out of off or leg line hoping for sharp turns. The other Indian weakness is lack of batting partnerships. There has not been a partnership of 20 overs amongst the top order batsmen. It is the overconfidence which makes them go forward prodding to turning balls and losing their wickets.

  • C on November 26, 2012, 0:52 GMT

    Whats Gambhir commenting. I thought Monty was the fastest spinner today and he got wickets. Its just exceptional batting by Cook and Pieterson who made the Indian spinners look ordinary.

  • Naresh on November 25, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    INDIA has not played well as a team and find themselves in this position. Time India gets rid of non-performers - Gambir is one of them. Consistency is lacking and that hurts India the most.Now both batting and bowling is failing. India needs to find wicket taking bowler like Kumble did in his time.

  • Anit on November 25, 2012, 23:35 GMT

    India has a spinner with 100 test match experience and over 400 test wickets. If he can't use his vast experience, India is in a hopeless situation. The same to be said of a start batsman who is approaching 200 test experience could not put reasonable performance.

  • MANHAR on November 25, 2012, 20:33 GMT

    I don't think so. Gambhir, you guys lost the game. Sachin, Harbhajan and Yuvraj must be replace in next two game.

  • Dummy4 on November 25, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    Just don't waste time! This is exactly what will happen. Gambhir will get out in the first couple of overs. Zaheer will throw his bat around. The lead will be 50 and England will score off these runs for the loss of say one wicket. So just tighten it and plan for Kolkatta now.

  • Baskar on November 25, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    How can the entire team brain trust not realize that if you don't bowl spin at 90 kph or thereabouts, it is non-optimal even in the first innings? Says a lot about how MSD and his crew operate -- they expect things to happen than make it happen.

  • anil on November 25, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    I hope out of hope we get a 120 lead which is looking next to impossible and at least get 7 England batsmen out to say, their victory was just in two men, Pietersen and Cook. Without KP the match was as good as over yesterday with India leading 2-0. But KP should be saluted. For he did not give upon England and leave for SA. He got back to prove to people like Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower and ECB that talent is just not ECB's alley. Good luck Gauti, hope Bhajji and Zaheer if possible score 50 between them and another 10 from Ojha. Always remember for last one wicket against Oz Freddie Beefy scored 110 runs. There is no reason why we can't. Let us hope for the best. Its the fight we wanted not the lame excuse.

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