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Gautam Gambhir's fifty on Test comeback mounts pressure on Shikhar Dhawan

India Today logo India Today 12-10-2016

Gautam Gambhir is back!

Despite a shoulder injury that developed on Day 3 of Indore Test between India and New Zealand, Gambhir managed to score a brisk half-century early on the fourth day. This after he got dismissed at 29 in the first innings.

This is Gambhir's return due to many reasons. For one, this is his Test fifty for the first time in four years. After two years of not playing a Test, the opening batsman was called up by coach Anil Kumble to replace KL Rahul post the Kanpur Test after the Karnataka batsman withdrew with a hamstring injury.

It has not been an easy return for Gambhir. His partnership with Virendra Sehwag bloomed till 2012 when they achieved a mark of 4412 runs together. One of the most successful opening batsmen, however, gave a poor performance in 2013 after which the Oval Test between India- England in August 2014 was considered his comeback. He has aggregated 4125 runs in 57 Tests that he has played so far.

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The 34-year-old from Delhi had however not been given a chance to play Test for the last two years. The decision by Kumble to include Gambhir in the squad was taken considering in view his good show (356 from five innings at 71.20) in the Duleep Trophy.

DHAWAN UNDER FIRE

Dhawan, who is recovering from a thumb fracture he sustained during the Kolkata Test, displayed a poor performance after falling for a pity 1 and 17 and becoming a victim of trolls on the social media by faithful Gambhir fans.

The 30-year-old has been under the lens for a long time as he managed to score only one Test half-century in his last 14 innings. Even during the last Test against West Indies in Gros Islet, Dhawan failed to impress after getting dismissed at 1 and 26. He currently stands at 1464 runs in 23 matches.

Gambhir has experience on his side and if the man from Delhi continues showing good form, he can become a regular pick for opening over under-performing players like Dhawan and Vijay. Gambhir, who suffered a right shoulder injury during the Indore Test, will have close to a month to recover before India host England for a five-match series from November 9.

India have a long season ahead with 10 Tests and lots of limited-overs matches to be played, against New Zealand, England, Australia and Bangladesh until March next year.

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