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'If India loses the series, then he might have to eat his words': Harbhajan calls on Shastri to front up

Before the England tour, Ravi Shastri said: "For us there is no away, every game is a home game because we don't play the opponent, we play the pitch... our job is to conquer the pitch wherever we go"

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India head coach Ravi Shastri, left, with Harbhajan Singh in 2016

Harbhajan Singh has called on Ravi Shastri to front up for India's poor performance with the bat in the Test series against England.

Shastri has come under fire following a wretched display at Lord's, where his side were dismissed for 107 and 130 to lose by an innings and 159 runs.

The tourists, whose red-ball preparation in England came in the form of a solitary warm-up match against Essex, have struggled against the swinging ball and now face the prospect of losing the series at Trent Bridge, where the third Test is due to start on Saturday.

Having made the bold announcement that "for us there is no away, every game is a home game because we don't play the opponent, we play the pitch... our job is to conquer the pitch wherever we go" prior to leaving for the tour, Shastri has found his words coming back to bite him.

And Harbhajan, in England on media duty, wants the coach to take his share of responsibility for the situation.

"The coach has to come on record, today or tomorrow he has to speak up. He is answerable to everyone. If India loses the series, then he might have to eat his words and admit that conditions do make a lot of difference," he told Aaj Tak.

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India have struggled against the swinging ball in England

"We haven't showed any intent to fight back. The willingness to win is missing and that is most disheartening. We are losing without posing any challenge to the opponent. It is extremely disappointing."

Harbhajan pointed to trouble at the top of the order, where India fielded Muraji Vijay with Shikhar Dhawan in the first Test and KL Rahul in the second. Vijay, fresh off a pair at Lord's, is horribly out of nick, while with the exception of Virat Kohli none of India's top six have got beyond 30 in four innings against the Dukes ball.

"On foreign tours, a good opening partnership makes such a huge difference but in every match our opening pair is getting changed," Harbhajan said.

"In every game, the playing XI is getting changed. Even the middle order isn't set."

And the spinner who claimed 417 Test wickets for his country during a fine playing career was baffled by the inclusion of Kuldeep Yadav under grey skies and with wet weather forecast at Lord's.

"We had a green wicket and overcast conditions but the team management decided to play two spinners," he said. "Was it really needed?

"The hosts could have been all out for 160-170 if a third seamer in Umesh had played instead of an extra spinner."

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