India's defeat exposes their weakness on foreign soil
Dubai: India's loss to Australia in the first Test in just four days, and that too by 122 runs, does not augur well for the rest of the series. Once again it has exposed India's weaknesses on foreign soil.
To be called the top team in the world, they need to have the ability to win in any condition and not be tigers just at home. The match also revealed Indian batsmen's weakness against genuine pace.
India's former wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani, in a recent interview to Gulf News, had rightly pointed out that to win in Australia at least six players must perform consistently. A glorious knock in the first innings and poor show by everyone in the second innings cannot win matches.
VVS Laxman and Virat Kohli together contributed just 14 runs in the two innings. As the middle-order of India's batting, they need to back the good start from the top.
A winning combination in a team is where, even if the top order fails, the middle order takes over. But if they cave in like they did in Melbourne, then India may very well once again return without ever winning a series in Australia.
Take a look at the Test statistics of the batsmen who were part of the innings that folded for 169 in the second innings. Virender Sehwag (8,054), Rahul Dravid (13,172), Sachin Tendulkar (15,288) and Laxman (8,629 runs). Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni too are batsmen with over 3,000 runs in Test cricket.
If these stars and not able to perform collectively, but only individually, then the net result will be that the players will continue to remain as stars but the team will keep slipping down.
It is here that the Australians excel. From 27 for four, they lifted the team to 240 in the second innings with timely knocks from Mike Hussey and Ricky Ponting. Playing good knocks when it matters most is more vital than the number of runs posted in a player's career.
Dhoni and his men must introspect and analyse their collapse. Indian batsmen have to prove that they are not suspect to genuine pace, and as long as this suspicion lingers, the No 1 Test ranking they recently lost will remain slippery.
At the end of the third day, Sehwag had predicted that anything less than 300 is achievable. To be bowled out for even half of that clearly reveals their batsmen failed to read the strengths of the Australian bowlers.