Hubli: It will be a litmus test for the out-of-favour batsmen — Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir — as India A need nothing less than a victory to level the three-match series when they take on West Indies A in the third and final four-day tie, starting here, on Wednesday.
Having won the first match comprehensively, West Indies A drew the second game to lead the series 1-0 and the hosts quickly need to make amends in this must-win encounter if they are to draw level.
All eyes will be on Sehwag and Gambhir, both of whom need to contribute with the bat should they create a chance for themselves to be back in the reckoning for the national squad.
The show put up by the duo in the previous match, at Shimoga, was disappointing with Gambhir scoring just 11 and Sehwag managing only seven runs.
Sehwag has not scored a century in 30 Test innings, while Gambhir’s dry run with the bat has seen him without a hundred in 40 innings since January 2010.
Even pacer Zaheer Khan, who is also trying for a comeback, had a dismal outing in the last match with overall figures of two for 93.
But the fact that it was a slow pitch, which hardly helped the seamers, together with the fact that Zaheer was playing his first match after a year’s gap, could be taken into consideration.
Zaheer has failed to take five wickets in a Test innings since October 2010, and his fitness and endurance have also been a concern. After the 2011 World Cup, he played just seven Tests.
The trio would be keen to go out in a positive frame of mind and make a mark in this game.
India A captain Cheteshwar Pujara, besides motivating the team, would also be looking to put behind his own disappointing performance in the last two matches where he managed just 45 runs from three innings.