Christchurch: India skipper Saurav Ganguly conceded on Tuesday his batsmen were under pressure to deliver in the third One-day International against New Zealand.
"It's high time the batsmen scored runs," Ganguly said ahead of Wednesday's day- night game at the Jade Stadium. "Most of the batsmen have been out of form on this tour, but we have to find some ways to score runs. The bottom line is we have not scored runs in Tests and One- dayers." Pressure has begun to mount on India, yet to win a match on its current tour. The tourists trail 2-0 in the ongoing seven-match One-day series after having lost both the Tests inside three days on seamer-friendly pitches. India was let down by batting in both the Tests and One-dayers as it crossed the 200- mark just once, in the last game at Napier on Sunday. Most of its batsmen are still struggling to cope with the New Zealand pace attack. Master batsman Sachin Tendulkar and the normally reliable Rahul Dravid scored only one half-century in four Test innings, while Virender Sehwag smashed an impressive 108 in the previous game after five failures. The Indian captain himself is short of runs, having made 29 in four Test innings and 14 in two One-dayers. "We are going through a tough time at present," said Ganguly. "Pressure is always there. Sometimes, it looks surprising that we are the same team that did so well in the past eight-nine months. "At least three of our seven batsmen should score big in an innings, but that's not happening. Sehwag is the only one who has a big score to his credit." India also felt Tendulkar's absence in the first two games as the middle-order looked shaky against a tidy New Zealand pace attack. "He is fit," Ganguly said of Tendulkar, who suffered an ankle injury while bowling in the nets before the opening match at Auckland. India, however, will name its playing eleven only on Wednesday. The Indian captain did not believe that all had been lost for his team despite a pair of defeats. "It's a new day tomorrow (Wednesday)," said Ganguly. "There's still a lot of cricket left in the series and we'll try to do our best in the remaining matches. I hope it'll be a different show tomorrow." Meanwhile, the Indian team management requested Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to send batsman Dinesh Mongia for the current series. "The idea is that he plays a few matches before the World Cup," said manager Nathu Ram Chaudhary. Mongia was named on Monday in squad for the World Cup, starting in South Africa next February. New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said his team was keen to make winning a habit ahead of the World Cup. "I won't say it (winning) is a habit, but we are on our way to making it a habit. We are consistent at the moment and keen to maintain it with a win tomorrow," said Fleming. New Zealand rested strike bowler Shane Bond for the second successive match and included seamer Michael Mason. "Shane has a slight side strain and it was thought best to rest him as a precautionary measure," said New Zealand manager Jeff Crowe. Bond grabbed 12 wickets in two Tests to play a big role in his team's victory. New Zealand (from): Stephen Fleming (captain), Nathan Astle, Mathew Sinclair, Craig McMillan, Lou Vincent, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Daniel Vettori, Daryl Tuffey, Paul Hitchcock and Michael Mason. India (from): Saurav Ganguly (captain), Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman, Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Sanjay Bangar, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Ashish Nehra, Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Parthiv Patel and Rakesh Patel.
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