The highly-anticipated Adelaide Test is finally upon us. Following the losses in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, it's the tourists' last chance to restore their good name.
It is also India's veterans' last chance to escape the sword of Damocles.
Indian fans are forgetful and one good show by the players here can place them back into their affections.
It is India's veterans' last chance to escape the sword of Damocles.
So what are the chances of an Indian win?
Honestly speaking, it's highly unlikely that the story is going to be any different on a sporting pitch in Adelaide.
The reason is that very few teams in the history of the game have been able to stage a comeback in the situation the Indian team is.
Talent and resources are not the issues here. Everything is in plenty. But the question is whether they have the fire in the belly to bail the team out of its biggest crisis in the last decade or so.
A lot is at stake.
There will sure be a couple of changes for the Indians.
Wriddhiman Saha will wear the gloves in the wake of the ban on captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for slow over rate at the WACA. Also, medium pacer Vinay Kumar will make way for a spinner. However, it is unclear as to who will be his replacement. Ravichandran Ashwin failed to make any impression in the first two Tests so there is a big possibility of the selection of Pragyan Ojha.
These are the only changes look to be on the cards right now.
A lot of people are calling for Rohit Sharma's inclusion but it is highly unlikely, unless somebody among the batting heavyweights takes ill.
Who knows, somebody might also opt out citing a lack of confidence. It’s not uncommon in cricket. Sourav Ganguly would vouch for that.
Rohit may himself not be willing to play as nobody wants to start their Test career in a paranoiac situation as that. What if he fails? Will the harsh punishments certain to be meted out to the seniors in case of another defeat be imposed on him as well? Any youngster, irrespective of their talent, would not like to kick off their career against such a fearful backdrop. Sadly for him, he has very little say in the matter and will have to play if he is asked to.
Sachin Tendulkar is part of the ODI squad as well so there will be many opportunities for him in the coming days to get his historic ton. But every batsman wants to be remembered for Test heroics and Tendulkar is no different. He has been the best batsman on this tour for India and he is most likely to give them the lift they need at present.
Now look at the brighter side for the visitors. Adelaide is the place where India beat Australia in 2003. Rahul Dravid scored 233 and 72 not out in that match. Sometimes going back to a place where you have done well in the past works miracles for you. Dravid, who has been down in the dumps in the series so far, with the Aussie bowlers getting past his defences on countless occasions, would hope so. VVS Laxman also scored 148 and 32 in that match, so apart from Dravid he is another guy who can take a lot of confidence from that outing.
Mind you, India also drew at Adelaide the last time they toured Australia in 2007-08. So clearly, stats back them going into the match.
Australia, on the other hand, seem to have the problem of plenty. One of the stand-out bowlers so far in the series, Peter Siddle may be asked to rest in favour of the budding spinner Nathan Lyon, who made way for Mitchell Starc in the last match.
The Aussies have beaten India in every department in the previous matches and the possibility is that the trend will continue, but as they say it's a game of glorious uncertainties and anything can happen. Virender Sehwag, who will captain the team in Dhoni's absence, would like to believe that, won't he?
Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon
India: Virender Sehwag (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, R Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Wriddhiman Saha, Zaheer Khan