I have seen this so many times on India’s away tours to hard wicket countries. Insufficient preparation and inadequate attention paid to the itinerary means you are still feeling your way in the first Test; your strengths negated by the conditions so there is hardly ever anything for the finger spinners, playing and bowling the new ball becomes a weakness - there are so many.
But inevitably there will be an injury that will cause the batting order to become unstable, a lead bowler hits bad form which means the captain is looking to get by with three bowlers.
As Australia look back at this series they will see all these signs and they will see what happens to confidence levels when the going gets tough.
Doubt creeps in, footwork becomes lethargic and that is also the moment when a crucial decision goes against you. You get the feeling you are
taking on the world with no weapons.
And that is why Test cricket demands so much from those that play it; that is why an overseas record is so respected.
India, on the other hand, while revelling in home conditions, have a couple of issues to consider as well. The lower order is struggling and Ashwin and Jadeja, the two bowling all-rounders aren’t pulling their weight with the bat. India are getting by because the top order is producing big runs and this could have implications while playing overseas when, like Australia in India, you want everyone chipping in whatever they have.
The advantage with a four Test series is that it genuinely tests your staying power. And I will be very keen to see if India are able to summon
the intensity to take this four-zero. That is what champions do and India should be disappointed with anything else. But I will be just as interested
in seeing how Australia approach a situation of such hopelessness.
It is never easy playing a dead rubber and at such times the thoughts can start drifting to the flight back home. There is still much to observe in the fourth Test.
Professional Management Group