Australia may have shot themselves in the foot by the disciplinary action that they took against four of their players, two of whom had featured in the first two Tests, but the Indian team would be well advised not to take the Australians lightly because of that. The Australians are resilient, and who knows, this may actually spur them and make some raise the level and tempo of their game.
The action has come in for all kinds of reactions from former players and many a word will be written and spoken about it in the days to come too, but the fact remains that the Aussies know that they have to win the next two Tests to retain the trophy.
If anything, if the Mohali pitch plays to its reputation, then the Aussie new ball bowlers will find some more in it for them rather than in the earlier games. The Mohali pitch can be deceptive because it does not always have the bounce that its hardness promises and many a batsman have come a cropper looking to play on the drive and finding he has played earlier.
The one thing that is pretty certain is that the ball will not turn and bounce from the first day but will do so much later, for after all it is an Indian pitch. So the team batting first has to capitalise on the surface while the ball is not doing much and get a big total on board.
The Australians have won the first choice of batting in both the Tests so far, but have batted as if their feet have been tied. The shining exception has been the skipper Michael Clarke who has shown what good positive footwork can do. There have been pockets of resistance but that has not been enough to stop the Indians.
The Indians have a new opening pair in Dhawan and Vijay. The left-hander has been on the fringe of the Indian team for a couple of seasons now but what has let him down in one-day cricket appearances is his shot selection.
That aspect becomes even more important in a Test match and if he can see how Vijay displayed admirable patience and then reaped the rewards, then his Test career can also take off. Pujara’s injury is worrying, for India needs his solidity and stability at the top of the order especially since the opening pair is a new one.
This Test also gives another chance for Ishant Sharma and Harbhajan to show that the faith reposed in them is not misplaced. The incidents that have grabbed the headlines will go away in a flash once the first ball is bowled and the team that shows the determination and the patience should come up trumps.
Professional Management Group