SYDNEY (Reuters) - It will come as little comfort to India after going 2-0 down in the four-match test series against Australia but the young touring party have already put on a much better showing than the much vaunted 2011-2012 vintage.
The supine surrender of the last India test squad to visit Australia, packed as it was with batting greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, left a bitter taste in the mouth for fans of test cricket Down Under.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s fresh young crop of players may yet also be swept 4-0 after the remaining tests in Melbourne and Sydney, but they will at least go down scrapping.
They battled for victory down to the wire in the first test in Adelaide last weekend and were still hammering away when the Australians were chasing down 128 runs for victory at the Gabba on Saturday, taking six wickets before conceding defeat.
“More often than not, with targets of only 125 to 130 runs, there’s a tendency to throw in the towel,” Dhoni told reporters in Brisbane.
”But it’s important you fight the opposition until the last run is scored and then, whatever the result, you accept it.
”It was good to see the fast bowlers still running in and giving 100 percent and we took a few wickets.
“There’s a lot of learnings for the youngsters, if we had an extra 50, 60, 70 runs, another couple of partnerships for 80 or 90 runs, it can really matter.”
The lack of those holding partnerships have cost a developing India dear recently with a string of batting collapses having contributed to their record of having won just one test out of nine this year.
India will always take batting and spin-bowling somewhat for granted, however, and what has excited Dhoni in the series so far has been his pace bowlers.
Led by the experienced Ishant Sharma, pacemen Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav have all caused Australia problems over the first two tests.
“I think there are plenty of positives because we have been able to take wickets,” Dhoni added.
”You can see there are plenty of areas where we are improving but we haven’t crossed the line yet. It a bit like a wine that is brewing, we need to give it a bit more time.
“Once they cross that line and start harnessing that aggression in the right channels, you’ll see plenty of good results from this side.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury