x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Test will only get sterner for Dhoni's men

India may be struggling in the ongoing away Test series against Sri Lanka, but Australia are still wary of playing MS Dhoni's men at home in October.

India may be struggling in the ongoing away Test series against Sri Lanka, but Australia are still wary of playing MS Dhoni's men at home in October. The Australians are having problems of their own. After having lost their most recent Test to Pakistan, Simon Katich, the in-form opener, said of the India tour: "It will be very tough. We were there in 2008, lost 2-0 and found it hard work and we are back at two of the venues we were at in 2008.

"There's no doubt they have got a very good side, they love playing at home, they will have their home crowd supporting them. "We do have obviously quite a few young guys stepping into Test cricket now who haven't played in India before, so that will be a test for them, but it's going to be a good challenge," he added. India have struggled to cope with Sri Lanka's frontline bowlers so far, but it could get worse if the off-colour Mitchell Johnson comes back with a vengeance.

Johnson took just three wickets at an average of 72.3 in the series against Pakistan while Doug Bollinger was also largely ineffective before he grabbed three wickets on the final day in Leeds, England, to raise hope of an unlikely win, prompting Katich to say: "I guess the guys would probably have been a little disappointed." So while India are at the receiving end in Sri Lanka, they will need to watch out for Australia who will not just play for pride but to gain confidence for the Ashes series against England.

* PA