London, July 25: With India's back squarely to the wall in the Lord's Test, the visitors need all the batting they have to help salvage a draw. But the line-up has suffered a couple of serious set-backs which could very well cost them the encounter. Indeed, India is sweating on the fitness of premier batsmen Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar as India go into the final day, trailing England by a mammoth 378 runs.
On Day 4, English latter-order batsman Matt Prior dealt India two severe blows. One was his unbeaten ton and unbroken 162-run stand with Stuart Broad which took the game past India and two: taking out Gambhir Gambhir at the dangerous position of forward-short leg. A full-blooded drive off off-break Harbhajan Singh in the 54th over struck Gambhir on his elbow, the painful hit compelling the fielder to walk off and seek immediate medical attention.
Even though, an X-ray has not indicated any serious harm, the wounded joint has spawned a nasty swelling which Gambhir has been treating with an ice-pack. Although, India team manager Anirudh Chowdhary has stated that Gambhir will be fit to play and should bat at no. 5, the injury could hamper the quality of his batting.
Meanwhile, the Little Master who spent Day 4 resting on the advice of doctors, may not be in ship-shape either to join in India's rescue effort. Sources inside the dressing room have revealed that if at all Sachin overcomes his viral infection in time and rejoins India's batting line-up, he would most probably come in at no. 7. But he will be only allowed to bat an hour-and-a-half into play (12:27 pm local time).
Therefore, as of now, India's chances of pulling off a draw seem bleak. The onus on the shoulders of the batsman at the crease - Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman - has increased inordinately. Will they be up to the task of covering for Gauti and Sachin?