The Indian top and middle order in the 3rd Test at WACA, buckled under pressure on Friday in continuation of its shoddy performance in the series Down Under so far. The top-four batsmen shared just 63 runs between them.
The track in Perth promised bounce and seam. India's veteran line-up at the top however, failed to even mount a resistance having been asked to bat first. Coming in to the Test with 108 runs from four innings, Virender Sehwag was the first to fall. His explosive ODI innings against West Indies at home which saw the highest ever individual score from his bat, failed to intimidate Ben Hilfenhaus. Fourth over of the day and Sehwag was dispatched back to the pavilion.
The opener joins ranks with his batting teammates as players who have only managed the rare knock of substance. Sehwag scored 67 in the 1st innings at Melbourne while Gambhir hit an 83 in the second Test. Dravid too has fallen short of his stoic repute, 68 being his best off 187 deliveries in the 1st Test.
Apart from Tendulkar who has managed to retain his consistency Down Under, the top-order has been unable to combine their efforts to challenge the hosts' bowling. India were 81/6 in the second innings at Melbourne and 96/5 in the 1st innings at Sydney. A collapse either in the preceding innings or in the one that followed, ensured that Michael Clarke's side eased to comfortable wins. At the WACA, the sorry tale continued at 63/4.
There was a feeble blockade erected by VVS Laxman (31) and Virat Kohli (44) who shared a 68-run stand for the 5th wicket but Peter Siddle dismantled all of it in two consecutive overs. The rest of the story was a dismal continuation of a wicket after another.
Skipper MS Dhoni was asked at toss if he expected his batsmen to pull together on a pitch that was termed a 'green-devil' and he said he was hopeful. Hilfenhaus' 2 and Harris' bowling however, has brought back the pressure on the Indian middle-order and tail once again.