In a dismal display, India couldn't even achieve the one thing that might have sent them to Perth on a positive note — a century of international hundreds for Sachin Tendulkar.
A hundred to Tendulkar at the SCG would not only have given the Indian team something positive to reflect upon, it would also have got the monkey off his back and probably helped the other batsmen relax. Heaven knows they need something other than smelling salts to revive their flagging fortunes.
Tendulkar only has himself to blame for not reaching the magical landmark; he was in brilliant form at the SCG but once again failed to dictate to the bowlers as he neared the landmark. And this time, there was no excuse; he was facing a part-time spinner and refused to take the attack to Michael Clarke.
An Australian score-line of 659/4 (especially after being 37/3) suggests the bowlers were to blame for the mess India finds itself in. That's not the case; a first innings total of 191 is where India lost the game.
In Australia, it's crucial to make a good start when batting. The first two hours of a game is always a battle for the batsmen but win that skirmish, or even stay on level terms, and there are rewards to be reaped in the afternoon sunshine. When you lose four wickets in the first session, the battle is all but lost and India never recovered from that setback.The one plus was the second innings form of Gautam Gambhir. He showed a positive attitude and an aggressive stroke range, but he still fell repeating the same mistake he made in the first innings. Part of the art of batting is to learn from mistakes and the Indian batsmen, Tendulkar included, are paying for repeatedly falling into the same trap.
Virender Sehwag is the batsman who desperately needs to learn from his mistake of constantly hitting the cut shot in the air. Sehwag may say, “That's the way I play,” but sometimes when the opposition makes a move to counter your brilliance, you have to adjust to stay one step ahead. Nothing would revive India’s fortunes quicker than a blistering knock at the WACA from Sehwag.
India is also paying for a short-sighted selection policy over the last few years. The batting line-up has been crying out for an injection of youth and perhaps six overseas losses in succession will convince the selectors of the error of their ways.
The selectors are now faced with making changes when the team is down, never the ideal time for blooding young players. Nevertheless, they have nothing to lose; the seniors are struggling to cope with a rampant Australian bowling attack and maybe a bit of youthful brashness will change India’s fortunes.
A Tendulkar century at SCG would’ve helped lift the gloom in the India camp. Now it'll take a Tendulkar century at the WACA, following a Sehwag onslaught, to keep India alive.