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Problems galore for India on 2nd Test eve

The visitors face the dilemma of whether to alter their batting line-up as they take on Australia in Sydney.

cricket Updated: Jan 01, 2008 13:58 IST

After the mauling in Melbourne, a jittery India face the dilemma of whether to alter their batting line-up as they go into the second cricket Test against Australia in Sydney on Wednesday having got little time to regroup and redraw their strategy.

The crushing 337-run defeat in the opening Test will no doubt have a demoralising effect on the visitors who need to put up an inspired show to stop Australia from equalling a record-breaking sequence of 16 consecutive Test wins.

Clearly, the Indians look in disarray as they have plenty of problems to sort out. The team management will have to give a serious thought on the composition of the team on a SCG track which was expected to be livelier.

The big dilemma for the Indians is whether to persist with Rahul Dravid as an opener despite his poor form or draft in a specialist in the form of Virender Sehwag or Dinesh Karthik.

Although many former cricketers have called for Sehwag's inclusion in the playing eleven, the indications are that India may stick to the same combination which means Dravid and Wasim Jaffer will again open the innings.

India's problems have been further compounded with the in-form Sourav Ganguly being rendered a doubtful starter after a bout of fever. The team management, however, is hopeful that the elegant left hander will recover fully before the match.

The star-studded Indian batting line-up surrendered meekly in Melbourne in conditions which were more 'sub-continental' in nature and assistant coach Lalchand Rajput felt the problems were in the mind.

"They do not have any technical problem. It's the one in the mind. They need to apply and believe in themselves. Self-belief is very important and it can help you survive in any field," Rajput said.

Rajput threw his weight behind the embattled Dravid and said it was a matter of time before a batsman of his class found his touch again.

"Dravid too does not have any technical problem. It's more in the mind and I am sure he will comeback strongly. I do not think there is any need for drastic changes. We will show some aggression on the ground and more intensity," he said.

Indian skipper Anil Kumble keeps talking about the mental freedom in the middle but at least four batsmen need to follow their captain's command if the team is to do any good at the SCG.

Jaffer and Dravid as openers and Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni as lower order batsmen had been the crass casualty from the massacre at the MCG.

Neither of the four made runs nor offered any promise but India it appears are saddled with them. Sachin Tendulkar, Ganguly and VVS Laxman had their moments at the MCG and the other four could take a leaf out of their positive intent in the second Test.

Ricky Ponting's men have tasted blood and are chasing their 16th successive Test win which would put them at par with Steve Waugh's record shattering Australians of early 2000.

All the batsmen, barring captain Ricky Ponting, ran themselves into some sort of form at the MCG but it was their bowling which caught the eye.