We Are Under a Lot of Pressure: Gambhir

Birmingham, Aug 12 (IANS): Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has admitted that England with their superlative performance have put the visitors "under a lot of pressure" in the ongoing cricket Test series and said the team takes a collective responsibility in failing to live up to their top-ranking.

India's World No.1 Test ranking is under severe threat from England, who lead the four match series 2-0. The hosts continued their domination in the third Test at Edgbaston, where they first shot out India for 224 on the opening day and then virtually batted them out on the second by taking a massive lead of 232 runs, losing just three wickets.

Gambhir said India have failed to take their chances in the series.

"I will not lie. We are under a lot of pressure. England hold the upper hand," Gambhir said. "We have just not been able to live up to expectations or the reputation we have. We have not played good, smart cricket and we take responsibility as a team.

"We need to give credit to England. They are playing some good cricket and they have always taken the initiative in this series. We have not been able to take our chances. At Trent Bridge, England were 124 for 8, but we did not take that chance."

To add to their woes, India's fielding was incredibly sloppy Thursday, marked by four missed chances. Rahul Dravid dropped twice while Sreesanth gave life to Eoin Morgan. Alastair Cook, who returned to form with an unbeaten 182, was given a reprieve when on 165 by Sachin Tendulkar.

Gambhir was at a loss to explain the fielding lapses but was lavish in praising Cook's innings.

"There are no excuses. It is a matter of concentration," Gambhir said. "All teams drop catches; these things happen in cricket but I can't tell you exactly why it is happening.

"You need to work hard in the first session of the first day of a Test match. If we had survived that extra half an hour before lunch yesterday, things would have been different. Alastair Cook batted brilliantly, showing a lot of grit, determination and patience. This is what Test cricket is about: once you are in, try to make as many runs as possible," he said.

Gambhir said India will have to show a lot of character if they have to save the Test. The Delhi batsman chose to take inspiration from the Napier Test two years ago, where he scored a crucial 137, batting seventeen minutes short of eleven hours under tough condition, to save India from defeat.

"We have to show some character and fight," he said. "In the past we have batted two and a half days to save matches and we need to do that and show some grit.

"Napier is something from where we can take a lot of inspiration; we had to bat for two-and-a-half days and we managed to do that.

"England have a good attack but we have played good attacks before. South Africa had an equally good attack. The only difference there was we converted the starts into big hundreds. England have not let us off the hook and they have bowled well as a unit. That is what good teams do: try to put the opposition under pressure all the time."

Gambhir said sustaining the World No.1 ranking is the toughest job, something which England will realise if they to achieve it.

"It is very easy to be No.1 but very difficult to sustain it," he said. "It is about staying there for a long period, not just for one or two series. That does not make a lot of difference. They are dominating teams at home but the big challenge is going overseas.

"England deserve to be No.1. They have played some good cricket but staying there is going to be far more difficult."


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