Aussies won't be easy to subdue

India haven’t been good at Bangalore. In a decade and a half, they haven’t won a single Test -- and lost four out of seven -- at this magnificent venue. On the last four occasions, they have conceded over 400 runs each time. They also have the absence of Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma to contend with. The air of uncertainty over VVS Laxman persists.

India’s fabled batting line-up too hasn’t quite set the Chinnaswamy stadium on fire. Local hero Rahul Dravid has floundered here; Laxman too has been average. Among bowlers, Anil Kumble has been the best of the bowlers. So, it is for Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan to rise to the occasion.

Australia, in contrast, get good vibes at the centre. They won twice and have dominated the third against the hosts. The loss at Mohali would be an added motivation. Or the fact that Ricky Ponting hasn’t won a single Test under his captaincy in India.

So India has a game to defend; a series to win. For Australia, a match to win; a series to share. Australia need a balm to assuage the hurt of Mohali.

Ponting won’t be there in the one-dayers and would hate to leave with second successive series loss on Indian soil. There is a bewitching possibility over the next five days.

Australia need Doug Bollinger to fire alongside Mitchell Johnson. The Indians too appear anxious on this count and hence have been utilising the services of two bowlers with a similar disposition -- the irrepressible Zaheer and the young Jaidev Unadkat -- in the nets. Dravid has needed them the most, for left-arm pacemen such as Chanaka Welegedara and Bollinger have lately been his bane.

Sreesanth seems set to return. The young man is never without colour on the field. India needs substance too on this occasion. Its bowling resources are on thin ice and Zaheer and Harbhajan need back-up support. Australians aren’t easy to subdue twice in succession.

An issue on the sidelines would surely have interested Indian selectors. Ponting, Shane Watson and Johnson would be rested for one-dayers in view of the forthcoming Ashes. Indian regulars too have coped with heavy workload in recent months. The weeks ahead aren’t going to get any better. The Board, the selectors and the team management need to be on the same page and must think about the rotation option. India needs to have its best men fit in mind and body for the 2011 World Cup.

TCM

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