Stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag said on Monday that he rates Australia’s bowling attack as the best he has faced as India battle to restore some pride in the final Test in Adelaide this week.
The tourists face the humiliation of another 4-0 series wipe-out if they lose against Australia in the fourth Test starting at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.
Sehwag leads the beleaguered tourists after regular skipper MS Dhoni was suspended for slow over rates in India’s crushing innings defeat inside three days in the third Test in Perth.
Australia, spearheaded by Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus, have dismissed India’s big name batting line-up four times for under 200 and have prevented Sachin Tendulkar scoring his elusive 100th international century.
“It’s everybody’s responsibility to score runs, especially outside India,” Sehwag said. “Unfortunately, on the last two tours the batsmen didn’t get those runs.
“Yes, the openers need to make a good start but other batsmen need to score too.”
Sehwag, who has been one of India’s worst performing batsmen with 118 runs at 19.66, paid tribute to the strength of the Australian bowling attack.
“They are bowling in good areas, they are not giving up easy balls to hit boundaries,” Sehwag said.
“I think that’s the best bowling attack I’ve ever seen, especially against Australia.
“Generally, when I played the fast men at Adelaide Oval, I’d get a couple of balls I could hit for boundaries. But in this attack I hardly get any balls.”
Sehwag said hapless India would be playing for pride, out to prevent an eighth consecutive away Test defeat after last year’s 4-0 series drubbing in England.
The adventurous opener has not lost a Test in his three matches as captain and said he was hoping for a big score on the batting-friendly Adelaide strip.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure on me with the captaincy as I was captain in West Indies and South Africa and scored hundreds,” he said.
“It’s just the responsibility of the senior player to concentrate on your batting and perform better. Hopefully, I’ll do that in this game.”
Sehwag said India may go into the final Test playing two spinners, Ravi Ashwin and left-armer Pragyan Ojha.
“We’ll decide in the morning. It depends on the wicket. If we think it’s dry enough and there’s help for spinners, we will definitely go with two spinners,” he said.
He also intended to bat first if he called the toss correctly.
“I think at the Adelaide Oval, everybody wants to bat first but if you look at the stats, whoever bats second generally wins the matches. Despite that, I’d want to bat first.”
India squad — Virender Sehwag (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, Wriddhiman Saha, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Ravi Ashwin, Umesh Yadav. — AFP