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    India's top order needs to fire in 3rd ODI

    Cape Town: Having levelled the five-match series with a thrilling one-run victory in the last game, an injury-hit India go into the third cricket one-dayer against South Africa here on Tuesday with the form of the top order batsmen continuing to be a worry.

    The batting has come a cropper in both the matches so far and the visitors managed to pull off an incredible victory at the New Wanderers on Saturday mainly because of the efforts of the bowlers, especially pacer Munaf Patel.

    The Indians have suffered a big jolt with Sachin Tendulkar returning home because of a hamstring injury, further weakening the batting line up which has plenty of talent but has not come to terms with the pacy tracks in South Africa yet.

    Tendulkar's injury has added to India's cup of woes as three key players - Virender Sehawag, Gautam Gambhir and Praveen Kumar - have already been ruled out of the series due to injuries.

    Thanks to some superb bowling, India managed to defend a low total of 190 in the second ODI and yet again the onus is on bowlers to deliver the goods for the team on a Newlands track which was expected to assist the quick bowlers.

    India would look to the pace duo of Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel to not only get wickets but to check the Proteas batsmen so that the batters have an easy job to do, in case they bat second.

    Spin spearhead Harbhajan Singh has done his bit by putting the brake on the scoring in the middle of the rival innings and yet again he has to ensure that not many runs leak during that stage, which played a part in India's series-levelling win at Johannesburg.

    Batting has always been India's strong point but the form of the batsmen in the ongoing series is a big disappointment.

    With seniors missing from the ranks, the youngsters, who have actually done well in the recent past, have not been able to cope with the conditions.

    The middle-order, except for Yuvraj Singh in the last game, has just not clicked. Neither Suresh Raina nor Rohit Sharma, who are both regarded as highly talented players, are not even a pale shadow of themselves although they contributed with the ball as part-timers.