After an uncharacteristically business-like performance on and off the field by the Australians, the put-on good behavior seems unsustainable with Brad Haddin cracking first. Two victories is all it takes for an Aussie to start preaching his "insights" and passing free unsolicited judgment best left for casual chit-chat over drinks or on blogs.
I thought Australia's strategy to talk up this Indian team and saying all the right things about the batting and Sachin Tendulkar in particular was working well. Inviting Rahul Dravid to deliver the Sir Donald Bradman Oration served up well in the context of this strategy. Even before a ball was bowled, Australia had used flattery to subdue India into complacency.
So I am not sure if there is a change in "strategy"; or it was a one-off case of Haddin losing the plot.
Things don't look too good for India. When cricketers start reacting to rowdy crowd behavior, one has to conclude that the team is cracking under the pressure. It happened in the West Indies during the T20 Championships, England, and it’s happened now in Australia.
The buzz about the rift between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virender Sehwag is entirely a creation of the Australian media. That's what I would like to believe. Except Sehwag, on occasion, no one from the team really likes to speak his mind or opinion on cricket matters. Surely that is not to assume that there may be differences of opinion in the team. I hope there is and given how different Dhoni and Sehwag approach their games, it can't be a surprise to anyone that they might differ on tactical matters from time to time. To suggest that there is a "rift" between the captain and his deputy is perhaps stretching things too far.
India are dangerous when incited and even without the drama of words I am strangely optimistic of India's chances for the rest of the series.
India, for much of the year, was a team in denial. After Sydney, what the team saw in the mirror must be hard to turn a blind eye to. Perhaps what is reflected will spur them on. Also, this Australian team is not known to string together victories yet and there might be just enough pride, desire and skill left in the ageing Indian team to turn one against the home team.
Though, I hope, that does not translate to mass euphoria and the seniors are given another free reign for an unspecified amount of time. If that were to happen, I would gladly settle for another loss at Perth.
Composition wise, it does not make sense to drop VVS Laxman mid-series or replacing Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma. Pragyan Ojha for Ravichandran Ashwin seems even less of a rational move given the left-handers in the Australian team and traditionally off-spinners doing well in Australia.
However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni may be forced to make token changes.
If a change is indeed forced by the selectors or the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), what I would truly like for India to arrange itself around Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli at No 3 and No 4, however appropriate, and for the seniors to bat around the two. Of course nothing of that sort is going to happen. The reason for this suggestion has many motivations; the main reason is that the seniors, once again, have gotten away without criticism for routinely putting Suresh Raina and Kohli under pressure at No 6. Additionally, the change is both tactical and long-term oriented.
Six straight failures of the middle order is cause for tweaking. Kohli coming in higher up the order with the assurances of his more illustrious team mates to bat may just set him up in the right mental frame of mind.
Irrespective, I think Australia are in for a rude shock at Perth. I have nothing to base this on other than plain old optimism and romanticism that I would like Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid to dazzle one last time… as a unit.
(Golandaaz is a blogger @Opinions on Cricket and likes to see the humorous side of the game. He often sketches cricketers in black and white. You can follow Golandaaz his blog on Twitter @oponcrFacebook/Opinions on Cricket)