Settling Dust, Opening Issues

With the dust from a fine Test series settled it's possible to think a bit about the fallout from it. And what you keep coming back to is the fact that some things never change: Australia win Test series at home - usually with ease, sometimes with more difficulty - and India struggle to find a reliable opening partnership.

When so many things about the Indian team have started to go right over the last few years, it's confusing and depressing that the establishment of a stable pair of openers still seems a long way away.

In Australia Jaffer started the series on the crest of a wave after his polished displays against Pakistan, but was gone by the end of it, following his erstwhile - and not unsuccessful - partner, Dinesh Karthik, out of the door. At Adelaide they were left with Irfan Pathan and Virender Sehwag to carry the can. Unsurprisingly, one failed and the other succeeded.

It was great to see Sehwag back to something approaching his best, even though his second Adelaide innings lacked the blazing brilliance of his greatest days. He's always liked Australia and, while appearances can be deceptive, he's always been at his best at the top of the order. Also, when he scores, he always scores big.

Viru should have ensured that he's back where he belongs for the time being, but who's to partner him?

As regular readers will know, I'm a strong supporter of Jaffer, although I'm happy to concede that there are technical and possibly temperamental vulnerabilities which may continue to affect his chances of truly replicating his home form outside the sub-continent. However, anyone who can bat as he did at Eden Gardens late last year has to be worth going back to.

It's a persistent headache which India need to sort out, and fast. As I've said before, things currently look sweet on the bowling and captaincy fronts, but they're going to have enough on their plate when the middle order big guns start to retire without having to continue to try to plug up the top of the order as well.

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