Zee Media Bureau/Rajdeep Saha
New Delhi: If the 3-1 loss against England exposed India`s weakness against quality pacers once again, the struggle looks set to continue within four months time. India visit Australia for a four-match Test series, and this particular performance against England, will delight Aussie skipper, Michael Clarke.
Australia wrecked apart England 5-0 in the Ashes earlier this year and they are ready to inflict similar wounds upon India. India`s last visit to Australia saw them lose 4-0 after they suffered a similar scoreline series loss against England in the same year (2011). This term also sees Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s side having a similar Test series tour overseas, with them having already gone down to Alastair Cook`s side.
Dhoni`s men submitted themselves to England`s attack wholly after not being able to cross the 200-run mark for five consecutive innings. The overall play went from bad to worse and the batting especially had a big say of their downfall. A meagre 94 runs in the second innings of the concluding Test match at the Oval told a sad tale of submission against England`s collective bowling unit.
Australia have a lethal pace battery in Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc. Also, there are utility all-rounders in Shane Watson and James Faulkner, who give them the much-needed stability. This bowling unit blanked England batters this season, as it also led to the visitors having no answer against Johnson. The left-arm fast bowler picked 37 wickets at 13.97 as he terrorised the English batsmen with raw pace.
Johnson will be the main man this time too, and seeing India`s batting, he will relish the opportunity to lead their attack. His pace didn`t drop a single bit in the 5-match series, as that prompted his skipper to compare Johnson to the likes of former bowling Aussie bowling legends. Johnson`s ruthlessness was an emphatic showcase of sheer brilliance, and that was backed by Harris and Siddle.
If Moeen Ali surprised everybody with 19 wickets against India, Australia have a genuine spinner in Nathan Lyon. For Lyon too, this will be an exciting series given the success of Ali. The pitches at Perth and the Gabba assist serious pace and that`s where the likes of Johnson will shine. With India`s performance in overseas conditions hitting a new low, the trend looks likely to continue at Australia too.
The 2003-04 and 2007-08 series saw India perform very well against Australia down under, but going by the performances against England, this Indian team looks like a serious contender to replicate the symbolical 4-0 scoreline defeat against Australia in 2011-12.