Over the last few seasons, India, for all their batting might, have looked distinctly undercooked whenever pace spearhead Zaheer Khan has been plagued by injuries.
In England, the left-arm pacer broke down in the first session of the opening Lord’s Test. And the end result proved devastating for India.
In Australia, Indians have been far more upbeat. Barring an occasional salvo from former players, such as Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, and the host media desperately looking for excuses to attack the team, the visitors have been left alone so far.
Unlike previous tours when the home team played mind games, the attempt to open up wounds — real and imagined — is clearly missing.
With most of the batsmen, barring Virender Sehwag, in good touch, Indians pack their bags to Melbourne in a confident mood as they gear up for the first Test starting in Melbourne on December 26.
Zaheer, back in action after an ankle surgery, bowled a short but incisive spell on the final day of the warm-up game on Wednesday to show he is close to his swinging best. Ishant Sharma, the other half of the crucial pace set-up, also ended a raging speculation over his injured ankle by bowling four overs.
The Australians have their own set of problems. They are still reeling from the shocking loss to New Zealand in Hobart, whose local hero Ricky Ponting is under pressure to not only score big but also retire.
Some desperation was reflected in the comments of former Australian pacer Geoff Lawson, who said India cannot hurt the hosts. “They play badly away from home. They’ve been beaten 4-0 in England,” he said.