India haven't been good at Bangalore. In a decade and a half, they haven't won a single game — and lost four out of seven. On the last four occasions, they have conceded over 400 runs. They also have the absence of Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma to contend with. The air of uncertainty over VVS Laxman persists.
India's fabled batting line-up too hasn't quite set the Chinnaswamy Stadium on fire. Local hero Rahul Dravid has floundered here; Laxman too has been average. So it is for Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan to rise to the occasion.
Australia, in contrast, get good vibes at the centre. They won twice and have dominated the third against the hosts. The loss at Mohali would be an added motivation.
So India has a game to defend; a series to win. For Australia, a match to win; a series to share.
Australia need Doug Bollinger to fire alongside Mitchell Johnson from the two ends. Indians too appear anxious on this count and hence have been utilizing the services of two bowlers with a similar disposition — irrepressible Zaheer and young Jaidev Unadkat — in the nets. Dravid has needed them the most for left-arm pacemen such as Chanaka Welegedara and Bollinger have been his bane.
Sreesanth seems set to return. The young man is never without colour on the field. India needs substance too on this occasion. Their bowling resources are on thin ice and Zaheer and Harbhajan need back-up support.
Australians aren't easy to subdue twice in succession.