New Delhi: Despite the absence of pace sensation Pat Cummins and all-rounder Shane Watson from the Australian squad, Indian batsmen will have their task cut out in the Test series starting on Monday, feels former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram.
"Australia will not give flat decks for Indian batsmen to thrive. Their fast bowlers bowl at 145 kmph and above. If all three of them bowl at an average speed of 147-148 consistently then Indians will definitely find it tough. How they cope against it will be riveting to see," Akram said.
Victoria speedster Peter Siddle, rookie James Pattinson and recalled pacer Ben Hilfenhaus will most likely form the Australian pace attack for the first Test in Melbourne.
At the receiving end of some harsh criticism from the Australian media and former players, the struggling Australian duo of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey found support from Akram who felt they are still dangerous players.
"I understand Ponting is short of runs. I understand he is 37, but so is Sachin (Tendulkar). If Ponting and Hussey stick around in the middle for 45 minutes or one hour, they will get back to form straightaway. Both are physically fit and mentally very tough, they just need one good innings," Akram said.
Ponting has recorded only one hundred in the last 20 Tests while Hussey is averaging a mere 11.85 in his last seven Test innings.
The recent seven-run loss to New Zealand in Hobart only made matters worse for the two batsmen.
"One of the old boys will go, I think Hussey or Ponting will go," said 1987 World Cup-winning skipper Allan Border a week ago.
Another former skipper Mark Taylor raised doubts over Ponting and Hussey`s selection for the first Test.
"I reckon Shaun Marsh and Daniel Christian could play in place of one of the two old blokes. Which one? I leave that to the selectors," Taylor had said.