MELBOURNE (Reuters) - India's batsmen must step up and help their bowlers if the world's top-ranked test side are to win more consistently away from home, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said on Monday ahead of the third test against Australia.
India, who last lost a test series at home in late 2012 against England, suffered defeats in South Africa and England this year due to a lack of batting support.
Their openers have struggled in Australia in the first two tests and the lack of runs at the top has intensified pressure on the middle order of a team which has a lengthy tail.
"The batsmen definitely need to step up," Rahane, who has scored 164 from his four innings including two fifties, told reporters ahead of Wednesday's third test.
"When we discuss the batting unit, that point is very important. Especially when we are abroad, the bowlers have been taking 20 wickets since South Africa, so if the batsmen help the bowlers the results will be favouring us."
India scored 250 and 307 on a difficult pitch in their victory in the opening test at Adelaide but surrendered meekly in their second innings at Perth, where they were all out for 140 chasing 287 for a 2-0 series lead.
Rahane, who has played 54 tests, hopes he can convert his half-centuries into hundreds and contribute more with the bat.
"It (century) will definitely come. I'm really sure it will come in this test match with the way I am batting since Adelaide," he said.
"I think I will get two hundreds but it will be important for me not to think about it and continue the way I am batting. If I can read the situation well and bat accordingly it will be better for the team. Personal milestones can come later."
The touring side's players took a three-day break leading up to the Boxing Day test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Rahane said India would look to make a fresh start.
"We will now look at it as a two-test series going ahead," said the 30-year-old. "We got a break after the first two tests, which was very important because sometimes the intensity of the test match is too much.
"Break can be good or bad, but for our team it is a good thing and we will have a fresh start in the Melbourne test."
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)