Millennium Post

It’s time to pay-back

Standing on the cusp of history, an upbeat India will go for the kill against a beleaguered Australia as they aim for an unprecedented 4-0 clean sweep by inflicting another defeat on the visitors in the fourth and final cricket Test starting Friday.

Although the Indian team under Mohammed Azharuddin enjoyed a clean sweep against Graham Gooch’s England back in 1993 but it was a three-Test series. In their 81-year history of Test cricket, India have never won four consecutive Test matches in a series and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys will certainly hold the distinction of being the first if they can get past Michael Clarke’s men at the Feroze Shah Kotla.

Skipper Dhoni does not endorse the word ‘revenge’ in sport but there is no denying the fact that his band of boys will be keen on setting the record straight having lost the series ‘Down Under’ by an identical margin. A lot of people have been sceptical about praising the performance of the Indian team against an Australian side which many consider to be the most inexperienced team which has come for a series in the sub-continent. But this series win has certainly helped Dhoni in partially restoring his ‘Captain Cool’ image which had taken a serious beating after losing 1-2 at home against England after eight consecutive Test losses overseas.

On paper, India start as overwhelming favourites on a low and slow Feroz Shah Kotla track as the Aussie batsmen are yet to decode India’s spinners during a series which will be remembered for all wrong reasons from the visiting team’s perspective.

Adding to their woes, Michael Clarke is a doubtful starter and his unavailability will only dent their chance of salvaging some pride and ending the series on a happy note. Shikhar Dhawan would be cursing his luck that he is missing out on an opportunity to play a Test match in front of his home crowd after suffering a knuckle injury while fielding.

Suresh Raina has got another lucky break in longer format despite repeated failures and knowing Dhoni’s fondness for the UP left-hander, there is every possibility that he might get another shot to redeem his Test career. Given the lacklustre condition of the Australian bowling attack, one won’t be surprised if Raina also feasts on Nathan Lyon and co. and his career gets a second wind.

This will mean a tricky situation as to who will be opening the innings. For all practical purposes, the crowd  might see Pujara partnering Murali Vijay at the top with Rahane in middle-order.. 
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