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We have not batted well: Gambhir

Calcutta: Gautam Gambhir on Wednesday flayed the middle-order batsmen for failing to convert the good starts into big scores on the opening day of the third Test. Without naming anyone, Gambhir said that it is about delivering at the highest level.

India were done in by an aggressive swing bowling from James Anderson that left them struggling at 273 for seven at the close.

“You’ve got to stand up and deliver. It’s a good learning curve and a good series against quality opposition. You’re tested and thrown in the deep end. We’ve got a quality batting unit and it’s just that we’ve not batted well. Except for (Cheteshwar) Pujara, none of the batsmen have been able to convert the starts,” Gambhir said.

“Someone like me and Sachin too, haven’t been able to convert the starts. We should have got big runs today. If you don’t convert your good starts, your team is under pressure and if you make a good start the opposition is under pressure…

“It’s not only about the inexperienced middle-order, it’s about the 11 men who represent India. After all, you have to take responsibility rather than thinking I’m only seven or 10 Tests old. Ultimately, you are representing your country. For me, when you are representing the country, you have to deliver.We’ve got a quality side and these are early days,” Gambhir explained.

Despite the batsmen failing to convert the starts, Gambhir remained hopeful. “We shouldn’t have lost at least two wickets... The way Ashwin was batting, he could have continued a bit more. But it’s part and parcel of the game. It was an even day... I can’t really say it will go England’s way. If we can put 330-350 on the board, it would be a good contest,” said the opener.

Is he disappointed at Sachin Tendulkar falling for 76 and missing a century? “Every run is important. You play a team sport. I never discuss about individuals. I’ve always maintained it’s not about centuries... It’s about what the team do. It’s about what we collectively put on the board. It will not help if one gets a hundred and the team end up in 250-260,” remarked Gambhir.

He dismissed the confusion that resulted in Virender Sehwag’s run out as freak. “These things happen. I thought that was not a situation for a third run... The ball was in the fielder’s hands and it would be risky going for a third. But after watching the replay, I realised there was a third run.

“We lost an important player. He was hitting the ball well. If he could have continued and we had a bigger start, we would have been in a different position.”

Did the run out affect his concentration? “When that kind of a dismissal happens, it starts playing on your mind … Viru was playing well. Things would have been different if he had continued playing. It’s disappointing from the team’s point of view.”