Slugging it out Down Under
Australian cricket history is not littered with many bad phases, and good opposition teams will not lose any time in thriving on those situations.
Australian cricket history is not littered with many bad phases, and good opposition teams will not lose any time in thriving on those situations. India must, but will they, is a big question as Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his mates settle in Down Under while Michael Clarke's Australians lick their wounds after Monday's Hobart Test loss to New Zealand.
India have the batting resources to fill up the huge Australian grounds, but in the end, the batsmen must deliver on the field. The last thing the team needs is a one-man show like Rahul Dravid's in England earlier in the year. The Australian spectators will be hoping the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid and VVS Laxman make their last tour to Australia memorable.
Excitement wins over reputation on the bowling front. There's Ishant Sharma, who had a successful tour in 2007-08 and the exciting Umesh Jadhav. Zaheer Khan is all pumped up for his third Test tour to Australia, but he can be a fragile commodity.
Ravichandran Ashwin has proved to a degree that he is a deserving successor to Harbhajan Singh, but it's been quite a while since India won a Test on Australian soil on the back of some splendid spin performances. The last was in 1977-78 when India, armed with men like Bishan Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna and Bhagwat Chandrasekhar won the Melbourne and Sydney Tests.
The term slugging it out holds supreme significance Down Under and the fielding/catching on those huge grounds must be spot-on. In terms of ranking (the No 1 billing was lost not long ago) and form (India beat the West Indies 2-0 recently), India should count this as their best chance to win their first Test series in Australia.
And there is no better team than Dhoni's to achieve this. Leave aside the disastrous Test tour of England and you have an outfit that has invariably come back from losses. They must be backed.