India’s batsmen are not going to stop struggling overnight, or even over the week they’ve had between Tests. Gambhir may come back into form (but there is no guarantee), but Sehwag does not have the technique to score big runs on a pitch like in Perth, or for that matter anyplace where the ball does not lose all it’s pace off the pitch. Dravid, after batting so brilliantly in England, suddenly has a massive weakness against the straight ball. For someone of his experience to suddenly be unable to keep the ball off his stumps does not bode well. Tendulkar is making decent scores, but he is getting out lazily when he is well set. Whether it’s because he’s bought into the ‘hundredth hundred’ nonsense and is feeling the pressure from that or not he has been attacking with an almost Sehwag-esque abandon in the first two Tests. It hasn’t paid off and probably won’t pay off. VVS Laxman looks like his career is coming rapidly to a close. He had a poor series in England and now he’s having a poor one here. On more than one occasion in the two series he has got out trying to flick the ball off his hip and failing to keep it down. With the extra pace at the WACA, I wold not be surprised if that happens again. Neither Raina nor Kohli appear to be able to play a short ball. They’ve both come in having only played the longer forms of the game on the flat wickets of India and now they are out of their depth. It’s not really their fault, but India should have prepared them better or found batsmen who could handle the conditions. Dhoni is in dreadful form with the bat, only managing a few counterattacking rearguards after the top six have collapsed. He could still come around and play a big innings though.
Overall these are not minor problems, nor are they down to the simple dips in form that occasionally afflict all batsmen. Some of the batsmen may be able to carry on, but I think at least four of them will not be playing in 12 month’s time. Sehwag is unlikely to ever be a force outside the subcontinent. I can’t see them putting up a big total. This will have a knock-on effect, even if they bowl first. India’s attack is theoretically skilled enough to bowl out Australia cheaply, but as we saw at Trent Bridge last summer, that is only half of the job. It won’t matter how well the bowlers do if the batsmen can’t back them up with some runs and I don’t see that happening. India have not shown very much fight in any of the previous six Tests against England and Australia; their body language has been very negative when they’ve been under the cosh. At no point since Broad’s hat-trick have they really looked up for it and I think that will haunt them in this match. At the SCG they let Australia get away from being 37-3 and if they collapse again I doubt they will be able to rouse themselves in the field. Australia are poor enough that they could give India a chance in the match, but India are so out of form and so uninspired that I can’t see them taking it.