India need to be proactive and play aggressively
While India departed Chennai with a big psychological advantage, they shouldn't think that will automatically lead to a win in the second Test - otherwise, they could quickly find the series level. Ian Chappell writes. Ian saysindia Updated: Mar 02, 2013 02:19 IST
While India departed Chennai with a big psychological advantage, they shouldn't think that will automatically lead to a win in the second Test - otherwise, they could quickly find the series level.
If India take that approach, it would be the equivalent of a spinner looking at the dusty Chennai pitch and thinking; "I've just got to roll my arm over here and I'll be richly rewarded."
Just as the spinner has to impart revolutions on the ball and pitch it on a good length - even on the most helpful of wickets - India has to start from scratch in Hyderabad and bat and bowl well to subdue Australia a second time.
It's true, Australia made mistakes in Chennai and they're vulnerable against good spin bowling and their attack is best suited to hard bouncy pitches. However, they have two big weapons in their armoury - they fight to the bitter end and they have an imaginative captain.
If for instance, Shane Watson were to bat at his best and Australia find another bowler to complement the highly effective James Pattinson, this would boost their prospects enormously.
Much of the pressure rests on the Australian bowling attack because they can't afford to be chasing big totals if the pitch assists spinners.
Make no mistake, India, despite the victory in the opening contest, is still vulnerable. They can't afford the opening partnership to keep failing; the bowling relies heavily on R Ashwin's attacking off-spin and they dropped catches in Chennai, which, if that pattern continues, will eventually cost them dearly.
Apart from the resounding victory, the best news for India at Chennai was the return to form of Sachin Tendulkar.
He looked aggressive, which is his most successful mode and consequently his feet moved positively. In this mood, he has a calming effect on the rest of the line-up.
Seniors a concern
Virender Sehwag needs to take a leaf out of Tendulkar's book; it's time for him to revert to type and just "see the ball - hit the ball".
The three senior players who must be of greatest concern to India are Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh (who looks like he might be past his best) and Ishant Sharma, who's in danger of regressing from a potential weapon to a bowler who perennially "operates without luck".
Luck doesn't continually desert a player but confidence can.
Despite the wide margin in the first Test this is an intriguing contest.
There are selection concerns for both teams, then there's the uncertain nature of the pitch plus there's recent history. From exactly this same strong position three and half months ago, India collapsed to lose the series to England 2-1.
Australia is not as good as England either in batting or especially in spin bowling.
However, they are renowned fighters and if Clarke gets a sniff of victory he can be an inspirational leader.
India can't afford to sit back and expect to win, or worse still, play for a 1-nil series victory.
India must be pro-active and play aggressively for five days otherwise it'll be déjà vu and memories of the England series will come flooding back.