When you’ve lost six consecutive Test matches away from home, you could really do with not playing the next match in conditions that are alien to you, yet ideal for your opposition. So it must be with at least a smidgeon of apprehension that India travel to Perth. The WACA pitch is quick and bouncy (more so at present than in 2008 when India won by 72 runs) and the open nature of the ground is conducive to swing bowling.
The batting line-up should be unchanged, although the top three will all be keen to score runs to cement their position in the side (current series averages: Ed Cowan 30.66, David Warner 16.66, Shaun Marsh 1.00). However, the bowling merry-go-round continues to turn: Ryan Harris returns in place of the injured James Pattinson; left-armer Mitchell Starc has been recalled and is likely to replace Nathan Lyon and play as part of a four-man pace attack.
In theory at least, their quick bowlers should enjoy the WACA. Zaheer Khan especially will be looking forward to finally playing a Test in Perth. Nevertheless, India must display significantly more discipline, dedication and guile if they are to prevent Australia racking up another large score. As for the batting, the second innings total of 400 at Sydney should not be used as an excuse for more of the same. Rohit Sharma must have a chance of finally making his Test debut (72 ODIs and 22 T20s to his name), with Virat Kohli or VVS Laxman most likely to make way. If the former, it would be a rather short-sighted decision; if the latter, it might just be the first of three or four tearful farewells.
Australia to win by a country mile, although they will collapse at least once; Verinder Sehwag to score in single figures when it matters; and an article to at long last be written without mentioning Sachin Tendulkar’s hundredth hundred (obviously not this one).