Careers on the line: Gabba Test will shape Aussie future
This is big. And it will get bigger. The final two days of one of cricket's finest series could shape the future of the Australian Test side.
The pressure is on. Careers are on the line now. What a fabulous finale. This series for the ages deserved nothing less.
India's magnificent Bare Bones XI, putting in a performance which stands as an unforgettable gold stud in the history of Indian cricket - any cricket - has Australia in a sudden state of anxiety as they prepare to put their pedals to the metal to snatch back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
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History insists touring teams cannot retain a trophy in Australia if they lose the first Test, every toss, their captain and eight more players through injury and play an attack which has a collective experience of four Tests in the decider.
But India just might do it.
If Australia gets out of trouble and wins the Test their house will seem in order despite the occasional bad paint job and dodgy fitting.
Lose it and suddenly every fringe issue becomes front and centre.
How long can Tim Paine continue as captain if he fails to conjure a win from this series?
Can Australia tolerate Matt Wade going a series without scoring a half century? What about the openers?
Why has Australian struggled to put this depleted Indian team away?
Is it a mindset problem or are India simply made from cast iron steel?
Australia has many questions to answer over the next two days in a match they must win. With bad weather lingering do they force the pace or simply play normally?
Australia - yet again - were stunned by the fearlessness of an undermanned Indian team who continue to do their nation proud.
At times their radar became scrambled and Fox Cricket said in one 10 over period the bowlers delivered just one ball which would have hit the stumps.
Star Wars fans may have turned up at the Gabba over the weekend but out in the middle The Force was missing.
The mojo. The aura. Call it what you will but the invisible force of personality that has been a weapon for Australian cricket for generations has somehow vanished this series.
Old heads like Matthew Hayden noticed it and called it out in the commentary box. The big talk among Indian cricket writers is that this is a most un-Australian Australian side.
Opposition teams are used to facing bowlers whose best work is preceded down the wicket by waves of hostility.
Yet that invisible force has been missing. India at home occasionally feels the pressure of massive expectations. Yet when abroad less is expected of them and they play as if their top button has been undone.
India has any number of remarkable stories including Sunday's half century maker Washington Sundar who was playing his first first-class match in more than three years.
Life isn't supposed to work like this. His calm assurance at the batting crease made this look like his 50th Test not his first.
As Fox Sports Harsha Bhogle pointed out many players in this Indian team are not from the traditional nurseries.
Many have come from unfashionable areas outside big cities and had to ensure long and bumpy rides to the big time.
They are tough, unpretentious and fearless.
No-one has to tell that to an Australian cricket side who have been stunned by the force of their commitment.
Originally published as Careers on the line: Gabba Test will shape Aussie future