It started with a nerve- jangling one- wicket win for India in Mohali, thanks largely to the heroics of VVS Laxman and No. 10 batsman Ishant Sharma.
The two combined in the second innings to add 92 runs for the ninth wicket and leave rival skipper Ricky Ponting dejected and without a win as skipper in India.
The second Test was more on expected lines as India won by seven wickets with Sachin Tendulkar hitting a double hundred and Zaheer Khan picking three wickets in Australia’s second innings.
But things will be different this time round. While the Aussies will be without the likes of Ponting, Michael Hussey and Simon Katich among others, India will definitely miss the experience of Rahul Dravid, Laxman and Zaheer Khan — who is out for the first two Tests at least.
The difference someone like Dravid or Laxman made in the India middle- order doesn’t need an explanation and the fact that India are yet to show the same dominance — at home — post their retirement bears testimony to their contribution to Indian cricket.
While Laxman won India the first Test with 73 in the second innings, it was Dravid who hit a patient 77 in the first innings, along with Tendulkar’s 98, to bring India close to Australia’s total of 428.
And the Indian bowling attack will definitely miss Zaheer’s experience. Quite a few experienced players are missing from both teams this time and it will be up to the youngsters to make it count
VVS Laxman: The way he battled a sore back and the Aussie bowlers when all seemed lost is memorable. His calmness under pressure will be greatly missed
Rahul Dravid: The solidity that he brought will take years to be established, though Cheteshwar Pujara has started well. Dravid’s 77 was crucial in the narrow win in Mohali
Zaheer Khan: The left- armer was at the top of his game during the 2010 series. The Aussies had no answer to his reverse swing. His injury leaves a big hole
Simon Katich: The left- hander was a fixture in the Aussie top order at that time and formed a good opening combination with Shane Watson. But Australia have found a swashbuckler in Warner
Michael Hussey: He didn’t play to potential in the last series, but he was one of the best players of spin in the Australian line- up and his recent retirement leaves a big void in the team
Ricky Ponting: His role in the Aussie set- up went beyond runs. He scored 77 in the first Test, but had to end his career without a Test win in India as captain.
How things have changed since 2010Mail Today – Sun 17 Feb, 2013 11:47 AM IST
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