The present condition of Indian team can be attributed with any epithet except stable – what with the misunderstandings and confusion in the Indian dressing room now coupled with the retirement of the captain. However the results seemed to have improved and the Indian team appeared more competent in comparison to the whitewash in 2012. Still, there are some strategic and technical loopholes that are plaguing the team since the very first test at Adelaide Oval.
Firstly, the Indian opening pair failed to click a single time mainly because of the tendency of Shikhar Dhawan to throw his wicket away. He has succumbed to all sorts of dismissals so blaming any particular technical mistake is illogical. He fared quite well in Gabba down the order after he refused to open in the final day. Although a single innings down the order is insufficient to comment on his performance down the order it definitely calls into question whether he is facing some psychological difficulty in opening the innings.
Another notable difficulty that the side is facing concerns the bowling section. The lack of aggression in Indian bowling has caused a lot of damage particularly in finishing the tail of the opposition. The tail-enders seemed comfortable with the negative bowling with a lot of short balls and they happily scored runs prolonging the Aussie innings and adding a significant contribution to it. Short ball or good length ball is a definite strategy when applied to check runs, but the temptation of full length balls is more useful in making the batsman drive thus increasing the chance of error- particularly when a tail-ender is concerned.
Since Zaheer Khan no Indian bowler seemed comfortable with using the old ball to claim wickets. This also adds to the reasons for the inability of Indian bowlers to take wickets down the order. Ishant Sharma fails to be promising in spite of his huge experience. Ashwin is also unable to generate the kind of fear and trepidation that the Aussies faced in front of Kumble and Harbhajan. This domination of the Australian batsmen over the Indian bowling overshadows the faults in the batting side as the cause responsible for their humiliation.
The lack of an all-rounder with consummate skills is also plaguing the Indian side for a long time. The plan of using four bowlers seems to take a toll on them – getting them tired, not to mention increasing the chance of injury.The experiments with Rohit Sharma had to be stopped after his continuous lackluster performance outside the subcontinent. In Indian pitches when using two spin bowlers along with two pacers this absence is not so conspicuous, but when forced to use the combination of three pacers with a spinner outside the subcontinent the absence of an all-rounder causes a noticeable effect in tipping the scales.
In terms of results the final test is redundant; still it will worth watching. Virat Kohli will finally take the skipper’s position and his positive attitude towards the game is the only inkling of hope for a solitary test win in Australia after six years. Dhawan and the missing spots are the only weak link in the Indian batting lineup. It will be quite surprising if Lokesh Rahul is allowed to continue given his callousness in the past match. Wriddhiman Saha is yet to prove himself as a test batsman (although it cannot be denied that he has been given only a few chances) and it will be an important test for him. On the other hand Sydney pitch may be trickier for batsmen with its unexpected bounce in which case the Indians should watch out for the Australian pace brigade.