India in Australia 2011-12 January 1, 2012

Australia's green attack silences India's 'big three'

Rookies against ramparts is promising to light up the summer. It's 1-0 rookies, now it's up to the veterans to respond
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Going into the first Test of the series, there was concern around the stronger suits of both sides. The Indian middle order was coming off a flop from England, but it had three greats in it who were expected to do well. It is no disrespect to the Australian stronger suit - their quicks - but this was expected to be different from England. While England's pace attack had been together for a while, a polished and efficient unit, the Australian fast bowlers were just coming together. The pitches in Australia too are traditionally more to the liking of batsmen than the ones in England.

One Test into the series, the contest of the summer has been set up beautifully. Three great batsmen against three inexperienced bowlers bowling as if they had been up against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman all their lives, giving nothing away, asking questions persistently. It is easy, and perhaps justified to expect the Indian big three to get the better of a green attack, not all of whom were the first choices but played because of injuries to others. As it turned out, they were up against some high-quality fast bowling.

The Indian batting flopped twice in Melbourne, in the words of their captain MS Dhoni, but it didn't happen easy. Every word of praise that came through from the Indian camp for James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle was meant and earned. All three found supreme fitness just in time for the Test series, all bowled at good pace, all bowled good lines around off, and exploited all that the pitch had to offer.

It's not as if they were bowling against batsmen woefully out of form. Dravid had had a bumper year, and Tendulkar looked good through the year, which showed in an average of 47. Only Laxman had an ordinary year, but he too had scored a big century in his last series. The Australian fast men got Tendulkar twice and Dravid once after they had got their eye in, which suggests sustained intensity, and Laxman wasn't allowed to get his eye in even once. They also came back from a whirlwind Virender Sehwag start and dropped catches.

Tendulkar tried to hit them off their rhythm in the first innings. There were the upper-cuts, and lofted shots off the offspinner Nathan Lyon. Yet, towards the end of the second day, a disappointing one for Australia until then, Siddle and Pattinson found within themselves spells of quick and probing bowling. Siddle broke through the defences of both Dravid and Tendulkar, but overstepped on one of those occasions.

The success was built around bowling lengths that would hit the top of the stumps, and lines that were neither wide nor straight, at high pace. Hilfenhaus swung it in the air, and the other two enjoyed the seam movement, either way, off the pitch

Dravid, admittedly not at the top of his game at MCG, was not given loose deliveries at all. He fought and fought through the adversity until he got a ripper from Hilfenhaus, as early as the first over of the next day.

Laxman is the kind of batsman who needs a couple of boundaries at the start of an innings. Here he was given none. Michael Clarke had the angles worked out well for both the batsmen, but it was Laxman who was especially choked. He played a couple of crisp shots, but found the fielders in the infield. Then he went into his shell, taking 20 deliveries to get off the mark in the first innings, and scoring 1 off 14 in the second.

By the second innings, it was clear the bowlers from the Members End had more assistance from the pitch. Hilfenhaus took the Great Southern Stand End, and bowled a 13-over spell broken only by the lunch break. Not only did he take two wickets for just 32 runs then, he allowed Siddle and Pattinson to charge in alternatively from the more helpful end. By the time India got a sight of what would have been the relief bowler, Lyon, they had effectively lost the match.

The success was built around bowling lengths that would hit the top of the stumps, and lines that were neither wide nor straight, at high pace. Hilfenhaus swung it in the air, and the other two enjoyed the seam movement, either way, off the pitch. If the bowlers can do that, it doesn't matter that they have 160 wickets between, and that they are bowling to batsmen who have 37,000 runs between them. This is not an easy virtue to keep up over eight innings, though.

If Pattinson, Hilfenhaus and Siddle can keep up the same intensity and skill, and whether the three Indian greats can find a way around it - two of them at the same time, and not just one, as Dravid did in England - could decide the fate of this series. The pitches here won't be like the one India found in Durban, where one batting contribution, Laxman's, was enough to win the match. This will veer more towards Cape Town, where India drew because Gautam Gambhir contributed alongside Tendulkar.

Rookies against ramparts is promising to light up the summer. It's 1-0 rookies, now it's up to the veterans to respond.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY sl271828 on | January 3, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Calling for the axing of the big 3 is really premature. This is particularly so with Tendulkar and Dravid, who were the second and third highest run scorers in the first test and pretty much the only Indian batsmen who looked comfortable. Dhoni needs to go as captain though. Three times India had Australia on the back foot in the first innings, but he then proceeded to set defensive fields and let the batsmen settle. Even as an Australian, I found that very frustrating to watch.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    There is no fear of green tops and the rookies. If only our batsmen can support all the good work our bowlers are doing then we will win. We bat very deep but sometimes it may be a good idea to attack Australians. Dhoni may try his batting order a bit. One message will be that he leads from front and then attacking Australians is the best and only way to win against them. Australians do fear anyone who attacks them.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    There is no fear of green tops and the rookies. If only our batsmen can support all the good work our bowlers are doing then we will win. We bat very deep but sometimes it may be a good idea to attack Australians. Dhoni may try his batting order a bit. One message will be that he leads from front and then attacking Australians is the best and only way to win against them. Australians do fear anyone who attacks them.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    AUSSIE SQUAD FOR TOMMOROW IS WARNER,COWAN,PONTING,CLARKE,HUSSEY,HADDIN,HARRIS OR MARSH,LYON,SIDDL,HILFENHOUS AND PATTINSON .THERE IS FIGHT BETWEEN MARSH AND HARRIS.

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | January 2, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    Its not about rookies and veterans. The big problem India has is that Shewag/Gambhir are not able to give any good starts. I see this factor overlooked even by EX- cricket commentators of the game. The Australians know this and are exploiting it. That is why Gambhir was being sledged - the banter to annoy him. Put Rohit Sharma up there and see how he does. He also is a spin bowler. The team will benefit from this. I strongly believe that after this tour - INDIA SHOULD DUMP THE BIG THREE this is needed if feilding standards are to improve.

  • POSTED BY Shanmughan on | January 2, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    A ripper from Sehwag is what India needs.That will surely put young Pattinson of his trail,and then India will be well on their way..Hiffenhaus is way too reliant on the conditions,and Siddle can be error prone in his line and length as he has proved over the years.

  • POSTED BY Rukus_NZ on | January 2, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    India were not well prepared, same as last time they toured Australia. I hope they are not deluded enough to use the excuse "we need a couple Aussie Pitches to adjust" - they are professional criicketers for crying out loud!!! Hmmmm lets hope they do their homework - otherwise they will keep dabbing at that swing and keep getting out!

  • POSTED BY ravi_hari on | January 2, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    Nice piece Sidharth. It is surprising that Indians have always allowed new comers to establish themselves at international level. Cowan, Pattinson are the latest additions. However, if you look at the batting performances in the last 4 away tours, Indians have faired very poorly. Even in Windies they could not consistantly corss the 350 mark. To win a test match 1 batting collapse is enough. Indians have done it in each of the last 5 tests and lost. Aussies have done it on3 occasions in the past 5 tests and lost 2. The irony is that now India is playing its First XI. Only exception is Kohli who is a rookie in tests. The reason why India is loosing tests is because of its openers, Dhoni and the tail. Gambhir and Dhoni seem to have forgotten how to play in tests. They give so many chances for bowlers that it seems like catching practice. Laxman will bounce back, but will it be enough? Can Dravid bat for ever? Does sachin have it in him? All questions to be answered. Hope SCG answers some

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | January 2, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    It is absolutely disgraceful what the big 3 are doing to India. They are holding promising youngsters like Rohit out, even though he isn't that young anymore. Their continual chase for records only means that the next wave of Indian batsmen will be highly inexperienced. I predict a dark time ahead for Indian batting. The bowling however looks very promising, with the experienced Zaheer leading a good young crop. Dropping Harbhajan for Ashwin was one of the best things they could've done.

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | January 2, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    The guys who took away the "Cant win away" tag doesn't deserve to end their career failing in their last away tours.. They did it for a decade.. One more time it is required..

  • POSTED BY sl271828 on | January 3, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Calling for the axing of the big 3 is really premature. This is particularly so with Tendulkar and Dravid, who were the second and third highest run scorers in the first test and pretty much the only Indian batsmen who looked comfortable. Dhoni needs to go as captain though. Three times India had Australia on the back foot in the first innings, but he then proceeded to set defensive fields and let the batsmen settle. Even as an Australian, I found that very frustrating to watch.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    There is no fear of green tops and the rookies. If only our batsmen can support all the good work our bowlers are doing then we will win. We bat very deep but sometimes it may be a good idea to attack Australians. Dhoni may try his batting order a bit. One message will be that he leads from front and then attacking Australians is the best and only way to win against them. Australians do fear anyone who attacks them.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    There is no fear of green tops and the rookies. If only our batsmen can support all the good work our bowlers are doing then we will win. We bat very deep but sometimes it may be a good idea to attack Australians. Dhoni may try his batting order a bit. One message will be that he leads from front and then attacking Australians is the best and only way to win against them. Australians do fear anyone who attacks them.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    AUSSIE SQUAD FOR TOMMOROW IS WARNER,COWAN,PONTING,CLARKE,HUSSEY,HADDIN,HARRIS OR MARSH,LYON,SIDDL,HILFENHOUS AND PATTINSON .THERE IS FIGHT BETWEEN MARSH AND HARRIS.

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | January 2, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    Its not about rookies and veterans. The big problem India has is that Shewag/Gambhir are not able to give any good starts. I see this factor overlooked even by EX- cricket commentators of the game. The Australians know this and are exploiting it. That is why Gambhir was being sledged - the banter to annoy him. Put Rohit Sharma up there and see how he does. He also is a spin bowler. The team will benefit from this. I strongly believe that after this tour - INDIA SHOULD DUMP THE BIG THREE this is needed if feilding standards are to improve.

  • POSTED BY Shanmughan on | January 2, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    A ripper from Sehwag is what India needs.That will surely put young Pattinson of his trail,and then India will be well on their way..Hiffenhaus is way too reliant on the conditions,and Siddle can be error prone in his line and length as he has proved over the years.

  • POSTED BY Rukus_NZ on | January 2, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    India were not well prepared, same as last time they toured Australia. I hope they are not deluded enough to use the excuse "we need a couple Aussie Pitches to adjust" - they are professional criicketers for crying out loud!!! Hmmmm lets hope they do their homework - otherwise they will keep dabbing at that swing and keep getting out!

  • POSTED BY ravi_hari on | January 2, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    Nice piece Sidharth. It is surprising that Indians have always allowed new comers to establish themselves at international level. Cowan, Pattinson are the latest additions. However, if you look at the batting performances in the last 4 away tours, Indians have faired very poorly. Even in Windies they could not consistantly corss the 350 mark. To win a test match 1 batting collapse is enough. Indians have done it in each of the last 5 tests and lost. Aussies have done it on3 occasions in the past 5 tests and lost 2. The irony is that now India is playing its First XI. Only exception is Kohli who is a rookie in tests. The reason why India is loosing tests is because of its openers, Dhoni and the tail. Gambhir and Dhoni seem to have forgotten how to play in tests. They give so many chances for bowlers that it seems like catching practice. Laxman will bounce back, but will it be enough? Can Dravid bat for ever? Does sachin have it in him? All questions to be answered. Hope SCG answers some

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | January 2, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    It is absolutely disgraceful what the big 3 are doing to India. They are holding promising youngsters like Rohit out, even though he isn't that young anymore. Their continual chase for records only means that the next wave of Indian batsmen will be highly inexperienced. I predict a dark time ahead for Indian batting. The bowling however looks very promising, with the experienced Zaheer leading a good young crop. Dropping Harbhajan for Ashwin was one of the best things they could've done.

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | January 2, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    The guys who took away the "Cant win away" tag doesn't deserve to end their career failing in their last away tours.. They did it for a decade.. One more time it is required..

  • POSTED BY DaisonGarvasis on | January 2, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    While delighted with Umesh's success, disappointed with Ishant. He kept bowling but wasnt looking like taking wickets. They played him with ease. on the other hand whenever clarke brought on a rested fast bowler we were expecting a wicket to fall.

  • POSTED BY KK_Cricket on | January 2, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    Seaming conditions or not.. I trust and back the Indian batting line up... We are playing so much cricket, collapses and bad performances are part of the game... India will fire and probably win the series... silencing Mr. McGrath (who doesn't even know how many test matches were actually to be played in the series...) and other anti India gangs...

  • POSTED BY priceless1 on | January 2, 2012, 5:55 GMT

    Pattinson is a terrific find for the Australians

  • POSTED BY andrew-schulz on | January 2, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    maddy 20, what do you mean, my number one ranked team? I don't even think they deserve to be there. God forbid you should be mistaking me for a pom?

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    I think we are being too critical and while the focus of the article, and I must accept that it is a good angle, it is between veterans vs rookies and the rookies have won the first around. But I am a bit disappointed to note that Lakshman is constantly on review and every time he fails, there are calls for his head. What about the batting of Gambhir, Kohli and Dhonii? If one of them had made some runs, we might have sneaked home. Rather than speaking about the veterans, what about the others. Dravid and Sachin made one fifty each in the game. What did Gambhir make? And Dhoni if I may ask? This australian team has a good young bowling attack and they will keep stretching us. Even Sehawag did not take advantage of the chances that came his way. If India has to win and that is definitely on the cards , it is not only the veterans but some of the others have to do something and fast. While on the subject of veterans, what about Ponting and Hussey? hardly spring chicken are they? sridhar

  • POSTED BY Rahul_78 on | January 2, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    It somehow seem to be forgotten that India goes in the tests with 7 batsmen, yes Dhoni is supposed to be good enough to be counted as a batsmen. Gambhir, Virat and MSD needs to seriously step up and start contributing to the team total. It is due to lack of runs from these 3 that is putting immense pressure on other 4 to score runs consistently. It is noticeable that Aussie rookie bowler Pattinson stepped up and punched above his weight to win a test for his country. For a change someone needs to ask these 3 for there contribution and places in the side. India is not going to win in OZ without scoring at least 700 runs in 2 innigns and they can not do it depending on only 3 or 4 batsmen.

  • POSTED BY moBlue on | January 2, 2012, 4:41 GMT

    IND are yet to play in sydney, perth and adelaide. the following are facts. VVS at the SCG: ave. 96 with a century in each of his last 3 tests there! dravid's last 4 scores at the SCG tests in 2003 and 2007 were 38, 91 n.o., 53 and 38... VVS at perth in the only test he has played there: 27 and 79 in 2008; dravid @ perth: 93 and 3 in 2008 in the only test he has played there. VVS @ adelaide: ave. 47 in 3 tests with 1 century; dravid at adelaide: ave. 94 in 3 tests with 1 century. hmmm... you guys think kohli, raina or rohit can do better than dravid or laxman?!? do you understand test cricket?!? pujara just might be able to based on what i saw of him at this time last year in SA, but he is not in the team! by the way, we all know - based on the england series - that dravid is in form. but laxman, you ask? laxman's last year has seen a test average of 42 (with one century) and one match-winning performance in durban and a test hundred at home on 14th nov. 2011. enough said.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    I think its unwise to comment on dravid,the guy is a legend,the only cricketer to have some old school tricks in his bag,iam shocked by hearing that you can drop a guy who has dropped couple of catches,geez this guy has got about 200 plus catches in those areas.Laxman is a very good bat,you cant go and say that he has last his tempo or something like that,see Mr.virat kohli,the guy who conquered all dead pitches is unable to meet the leather in the middle of willow.So please stop criticising about the duo of Dravid and Laxman.Lets think this way australians have exploited our weakness,the weakness is a lil bit of grass in wicket.Let us blame the curators,GET SOME DUST WILL YAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Farce-Follower on | January 2, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    @Vishal07 and Crindo77 : Thank God you guys are not Indian selectors. VVS and RD are the primary reasons why India reached # 1 in Tests. Not SRT. SRT did not win us matches, to take India to # 1. Yes, he has a great average in Sydney. I remember the double hundred. It was so slow, there was no time to get 20 wickets.

  • POSTED BY moBlue on | January 2, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    so many people here are just reactionary! back up your arguments with facts, people! i can... and i will! laxman a flat-track bully?!? check out durban exactly a year ago! also, go on statsguru on this web site and check out laxman's stats in AUS for any venue *other* than melbourne! he is probably more feared by the aussies than even tendulkar for the remaining 3 venues! check out the score-cards on the cricinfo archive for the SCG in 2003 and 2007! you want to drop dravid and laxman?!? do you know laxman not only won us the durban test a year ago but is also in form considering he scored a test hundred a month or two ago?!? who are the players you want to replace dravid and laxman with?!? only pujara among the younger players deserves a test place! show me statistics to back up your claims that any of the other younger players can play and succeed in AUS! the fact remains that the MCG is a tough venue for IND. for those who claim IND will lose @ perth, check out IND at perth in 2007!

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | January 2, 2012, 3:23 GMT

    Indian batting has failed for 9th consecutive time.. I would rather say them failed because they have already proved in all parts of the world and it is a failure indeed for them with their vast experience.. But everytime they go to bat, i would still put my money on them to score runs.. Can never underestimate them at any cost.. No substitute for experience.. Punter and Hussey showed it last match!!

  • POSTED BY RJHB on | January 2, 2012, 2:31 GMT

    Oh please Nampally, and anyone else pushing how well Ashwin played, hitting boundaries with french cuts past the stumps and nicks over the slips when the pressure is completely off the contest is not showing the other batsmen how to bat! Thats absolute rubbish! He did what a tailender should do,no more!

  • POSTED BY longlivewoodoo on | January 2, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    The time has come to get retired. Now u r spoiling the future players. Even bcci shud give them hint. So that new players can be groomed in 1-2 year span until these 3 retire.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2012, 2:10 GMT

    Spineless batting display again. Fully agree with 'andrew-schulz' - this looks like 8 straight pathetic away defeats. Gambhir is useless now and should be dropped straight away; he is a sitting duck for any fast bowler with steep bounce on the off stump line. Dravid's catching is woeful (his dropped catch off Hussey cost India dear), fitness concerns / age mean he and Laxman should now go, with grace. Dhoni was never a Test-class batsman and his captaincy stopped showing flair and guts (in Test cricket) a long time back (remember giving up the run-chase in the 3rd Test in the West Indies?) Dhoni too should go, but who do you replace him with ? Parthiv Patel / Dinesh Karthik / Wriddhiman Saha all have their major flaws....

  • POSTED BY CricketConnectsDotCom on | January 2, 2012, 1:51 GMT

    The portents are not good for India. The teams, in theory, are well matched. On paper, India has a stronger batting line up. In business experience counts. But in sport, experience is not necessarily an advantage - this nullifies the Big3 advantage. It all boils down to temperament. India's young brigade may never accept and love test cricket, though they claim they're excited about playing tests. Therein lies the difference - the spring from where they need to derive their motivation is missing. This makes them an easy psychological prey to the Aussies, expecially in Australian conditions.

  • POSTED BY AvidCricFan on | January 2, 2012, 1:08 GMT

    When your feet don't move quickly, the good length balls some times look like ripper. That was the case in Dravid's dismissal in both innings. He has developed a tendency to leave big bat/pad gap when defending incoming deliveries - playing away from body.

  • POSTED BY HatsforBats on | January 2, 2012, 1:07 GMT

    Amazing how often the word 'great' gets thrown around these days. Dravid & SRT are a class apart from VVS (& Ganguly). His record is inferior to Justin Langers but JL isn't a great; people are confusing grace with performance. Their number of cumulative runs is also a moot point, only current form counts and both Dravid & VVS are frequently batting like their advanced ages suggest they should. Only SRT looked as fluent as ever in Melbourne, and he was only beaten by a peach from Siddle in the 1st and a self-induced brain snap in the 2nd.

  • POSTED BY Vishal_07 on | January 1, 2012, 23:52 GMT

    @crindo77, I totally agree. Laxman should consider retiring gracefully rather than being dropped and forgotten. Dravid, while great batting in England (shaky so far), has to really think about fitness as he has dropped a number of catches and those opposing batsment have gone on to hurt India. Tendulkar is as good as ever but obviously needs support from the other end. And Dhoni, dude, you need to seriously contribute with batting and captaincy!

  • POSTED BY chicko1983 on | January 1, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    @venuc1 - the Aussie bowlers have not only bowled like this for the last test but siddle has been bowling like this since sth Africa tour (5 tests ago), pattinson for his first 3 matches and hilfenhouse for this Aussie summer in domestic cricket before coming back to test level. If you are expecting these three bowlers to change their lines and, more importantly the length, then you will be disappointed. I can't see India winning this series now considering the Perth test is still to come and Harris will be coming in to strengthen an already strong attack. 2-2 is the best India can do, and that would mean winning in Adelaide and Sydney, which is highly unlikely. So Dravid, tendulkar and lax man will never win a test series in Australia.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | January 1, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    Indian batting veterans need to believe in themselves. They have 4 guys who have the experience of scoring over 8000 runs each in test cricket & are facing a Rookie like Pattinson- into his third test. While Dravid & Tendulkar batted they showed the guys their rightful place. Even Sehwag showed some of his striking power. But the big let down was the 3 guys who followed the top 4 Plus the opener Gambhir. In a team game specialist batsmen should play like champions. Instead Ashwin the bowling specialist shows these guys how to bat!. So another Rookie in Ashwin has given his veteran batting specialist some batting lessons.Will Laxman, Dhoni, Rohit orKohli play like the specialist batsmen and contribute to the batting strength.Now Indian batting which is world famed need to restore some dignity to themselves and to their Nation by batting to their potential. The 4 guys mentioned above failed in both the innings. That was the reason for the Indian defeat & needs to be corrected in SCG test

  • POSTED BY on | January 1, 2012, 21:49 GMT

    All these boys are good enough to overcome the Australian inexperienced bowling attack.... I personally think that laxman is not perfect for number 5 spot ....he is not a century maker and kholi has proved that he can reach the tree figure Mark consistanly .....backing his century in the practice match ....he should be given the responsibility to bat above laxman given that laxman is not in good form.

    I still believe the same side should play in scg

  • POSTED BY KSalik on | January 1, 2012, 21:15 GMT

    indians have a chane on sydney pitch...because it helps spinners...otherwise big 3 or big 7 does not matter....they are a flop under seeming conditions

  • POSTED BY on | January 1, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    @yougander reddy.... i think u got short term memory loss... none of the batsmen managed to play well in england... so just pointing to laxman is useless... in the last year, dravid and laxman were the main stay of indian batting line up... laxman had won us many matches and drawn some tests for india in last year with his batting especially in 2nd innings... if any one has to be dropped it should be gautam gambhir and dhoni, then virender sehwag and anly then think about dropping the BIG 3...

  • POSTED BY kirkeet-fan on | January 1, 2012, 20:23 GMT

    Even if the desis bounce back, time to clean house, Dhoni should be the first to go, completely useless captain, a 4-0 drubbing does not even get an emotional reaction out of the guy, he's in it just for the money, we need a strong leader who takes things personally when it's time to.

  • POSTED BY DebashisCalcutta on | January 1, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    Everyone was praising Gambhir when he was scoring heavily in indian pitches and I am sure he will score heavily if you put him in those pitches again . When we (India) win in those dead tracks , the flaws get overlooked and we make demi gods out of our players . I remember Imran Khan saying - good teams look at the flaws when they lose , GREAT teams do it "even when they win"

  • POSTED BY crindo77 on | January 1, 2012, 18:12 GMT

    This series will see the end of VVS Laxman. He looks OLD and unable to keep up. SRT cannot be dropped EVER. He will go when he wants to. He is still the best batsman in world cricket. Dravid's fitness and catching will be his undoing. He will be a liability once he a has a string of poor scores. The selectors are just waiting for that. I'm guessing 3-0, with India drawing in Adelaide or Sydney. India's test ranking will not plummet in the next 2 years, as they will not be playing away a lot. But this is as good as it will ever get for India's test performance.

  • POSTED BY venuc1 on | January 1, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    Aussie bowlers have already become over-confident. I am sure India batsmen excpet Gambhir will adjust and bring Aussie bowlers down to earth in Sydney. In fact, all they have to do is stand 2 feet outside the batting crease to upset the line and length of the Aussie bowlers. One cannot expect the bowlers to maintain the perefction they all achieved in Melbourne. It is humanly impossible. Just watch at SCG.

    In spite of all this idle talk about SCG pitch helping pacers, Sydney pitch usually helps spinners. India should drop Gambhir and Kohli and bring in Rohit and Ojha. Use VVS as a make-shift opener. He opened the innings a few times.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | January 1, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    @andrew-schulz It looked like a contest until Dhoni's defensive fieldset to the tail and some uber-moronic batting performance in the second. Wait till your no.1 ranked team gets thrashed by Pakistan in Dubai and then we will talk again!

  • POSTED BY on | January 1, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    Laxman is a walking wicket the whole yr.dont bring home matches against wi apart he is a flat track bully !! He was gud only against aussies before now he is getting ducks here too.whats the use of playing a 36 yr old who is neither fit nor an athletic fielder and cant even bowl and gets out for single digit scores rm past 6 aaway matches .he was terrible in england even tailender's making more runs thn him

    its do or die for laxman if repeats the same england feat in australia then he shd be kicked out asap.we can atleadt blood the team with youngsters which can help in future rather thn playing a 36 yr old guy at the end of career.

    No offence but thats the fact.seniority doesnt matter only performance shd put you in the team's 11 .

    Hope 2012 will turn things around for laxman and he plays a key role in winming the series for india

    still i feel india can win 2-1 if our entire team cobtributes.

  • POSTED BY on | January 1, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    Nowadays people forget about the home conditions a lot .

  • POSTED BY Rags57 on | January 1, 2012, 16:29 GMT

    Why is so much being made of the 37000 runs scored amongst the three greats? Isn't current form more important than this? The runs scored and the weight of experience is proving to be more hype than real value. We need batsmen who are in form and who show more intensity both with the bat and in the field. If Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman can do that great or else invest in the Rohit Sharmas and Manoj Tiwaries of the world - they will give you better returns.

  • POSTED BY on | January 1, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    Someone actually putting faith in the youngsters and believing they are good enough?

    I completely agree but this type of discussion is unheard of for all teams except for England but i think you are giving too much credit to Michael Clarke and anyway, no team would be prepared to give any youngsters a go, especially Australia

    the Australian's only played youngsters because of injury, once the 30+ year old bowlers are fit again the youngsters will be dropped regardless of how well they do

  • POSTED BY itsjustcricket on | January 1, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    @indianpunter...and who will replace them? In the last 3-4 yrs Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman are by some distance India's best batsmen abroad, while the likes of Kohli, Raina, Rohit Sharma etc have done virtually nothing.

  • POSTED BY bhavikcs on | January 1, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    why everyone is talking about great 3? if you see last 2 years then only great 3 has performed and no one from young blood had performed if you consider virat kohli , murli vijay, rahane, mukund or any other player....if you will remove great 3 from the team at a time then this indian team will get all out in 150 on fast pitches...so no need to praise young bloods...young blood is only good for one day or twenty twenty or on flat pitches....just see result of past 2-3 years....

  • POSTED BY tanstell87 on | January 1, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Indian fan here...lets be honest guys....i dont see India winning this series...at most they might end up 0-3 down.....0-4(no it cant happen)....Adelaide is what we call roads here in India...but my Indian brothers might have a different view...new year...new beginnings...lets hope for best...Australia is starting to rise again from Ashes...they are clicking well together...with Watson-Harris-Johnson-Cummins & Bollinger back,Australia can challenge other teams..but as i see there is no proper number 1 in test cricket right now...every team is tough to beat at home..there are 5 teams that can be number 1 by default..England(current number1)/India/South Africa/Australia & Sri Lanka..even Pakistan(provided they stick to play only cricket)....but i am pretty sure Australia doesnt want that number 1 back..they are targeting the 2013 Ashes..they want to get back at their old enemy..but this is good for game of cricket rather than having one team dominating all the time..Happy New Year 2012 !

  • POSTED BY indianpunter on | January 1, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    The enormity of the runs by the "3 greats" is weighing them down. It is now dead weight, and all those figures mean nothing if it is not translated into something meaningful in this series. Either way, they should be let go.Laxman and dravid now and tendulkar , maybe , after 6 months. Our next few series are in India and this would give time to blood some new players and let them gain experience in home conditions first. GG is such a joke now.

  • POSTED BY andrew-schulz on | January 1, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    The contest has been set up beautifully? You've got to be kidding. The only contest is whether India can avoid sliding to eight consecutive pathetic away defeats.

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  • POSTED BY andrew-schulz on | January 1, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    The contest has been set up beautifully? You've got to be kidding. The only contest is whether India can avoid sliding to eight consecutive pathetic away defeats.

  • POSTED BY indianpunter on | January 1, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    The enormity of the runs by the "3 greats" is weighing them down. It is now dead weight, and all those figures mean nothing if it is not translated into something meaningful in this series. Either way, they should be let go.Laxman and dravid now and tendulkar , maybe , after 6 months. Our next few series are in India and this would give time to blood some new players and let them gain experience in home conditions first. GG is such a joke now.

  • POSTED BY tanstell87 on | January 1, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Indian fan here...lets be honest guys....i dont see India winning this series...at most they might end up 0-3 down.....0-4(no it cant happen)....Adelaide is what we call roads here in India...but my Indian brothers might have a different view...new year...new beginnings...lets hope for best...Australia is starting to rise again from Ashes...they are clicking well together...with Watson-Harris-Johnson-Cummins & Bollinger back,Australia can challenge other teams..but as i see there is no proper number 1 in test cricket right now...every team is tough to beat at home..there are 5 teams that can be number 1 by default..England(current number1)/India/South Africa/Australia & Sri Lanka..even Pakistan(provided they stick to play only cricket)....but i am pretty sure Australia doesnt want that number 1 back..they are targeting the 2013 Ashes..they want to get back at their old enemy..but this is good for game of cricket rather than having one team dominating all the time..Happy New Year 2012 !

  • POSTED BY bhavikcs on | January 1, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    why everyone is talking about great 3? if you see last 2 years then only great 3 has performed and no one from young blood had performed if you consider virat kohli , murli vijay, rahane, mukund or any other player....if you will remove great 3 from the team at a time then this indian team will get all out in 150 on fast pitches...so no need to praise young bloods...young blood is only good for one day or twenty twenty or on flat pitches....just see result of past 2-3 years....

  • POSTED BY itsjustcricket on | January 1, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    @indianpunter...and who will replace them? In the last 3-4 yrs Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman are by some distance India's best batsmen abroad, while the likes of Kohli, Raina, Rohit Sharma etc have done virtually nothing.

  • POSTED BY on | January 1, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    Someone actually putting faith in the youngsters and believing they are good enough?

    I completely agree but this type of discussion is unheard of for all teams except for England but i think you are giving too much credit to Michael Clarke and anyway, no team would be prepared to give any youngsters a go, especially Australia

    the Australian's only played youngsters because of injury, once the 30+ year old bowlers are fit again the youngsters will be dropped regardless of how well they do

  • POSTED BY Rags57 on | January 1, 2012, 16:29 GMT

    Why is so much being made of the 37000 runs scored amongst the three greats? Isn't current form more important than this? The runs scored and the weight of experience is proving to be more hype than real value. We need batsmen who are in form and who show more intensity both with the bat and in the field. If Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman can do that great or else invest in the Rohit Sharmas and Manoj Tiwaries of the world - they will give you better returns.

  • POSTED BY on | January 1, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    Nowadays people forget about the home conditions a lot .

  • POSTED BY on | January 1, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    Laxman is a walking wicket the whole yr.dont bring home matches against wi apart he is a flat track bully !! He was gud only against aussies before now he is getting ducks here too.whats the use of playing a 36 yr old who is neither fit nor an athletic fielder and cant even bowl and gets out for single digit scores rm past 6 aaway matches .he was terrible in england even tailender's making more runs thn him

    its do or die for laxman if repeats the same england feat in australia then he shd be kicked out asap.we can atleadt blood the team with youngsters which can help in future rather thn playing a 36 yr old guy at the end of career.

    No offence but thats the fact.seniority doesnt matter only performance shd put you in the team's 11 .

    Hope 2012 will turn things around for laxman and he plays a key role in winming the series for india

    still i feel india can win 2-1 if our entire team cobtributes.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | January 1, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    @andrew-schulz It looked like a contest until Dhoni's defensive fieldset to the tail and some uber-moronic batting performance in the second. Wait till your no.1 ranked team gets thrashed by Pakistan in Dubai and then we will talk again!