There looks a to be a cracking four-match Test series in prospect when Australia take on India, the action getting under way at the MCG on Boxing Day.
It’s a fascinating clash with Australia a team in transition but showing commendable resilience to win in Sri Lanka and draw a two-match series in South Africa after losing the Ashes earlier this year. They were, however, unable to beat New Zealand at home recently, showing their inconsistency. The Aussies do have some new talent coming through like Ed Cowan, who gets his chance at the top of the batting order alongside David Warner with the Australian selectors finally losing patience with Phil Hughes. Daniel Christian and Mitchell Starc are also in the home squad but Shane Watson and Ryan Harris still aren’t fit and Mitchell Johnson‘s contribution with bat and ball will be badly missed. Question marks, too, about how much longer Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey will be around. Both look increasingly vulnerable against pace and, while their influence in the dressing room remains invaluable, there will come a time when one or the other will be blocking the progress of a promising youngster.
Given the possible susceptibility of the Australian middle-order to fast bowlers, therefore, India will be expecting much of Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan – but therein lies the problem of predicting how this series will develop. Both have been troubled by ankle problems in recent times, indeed Sharma has already been struggling in the Indians’ warm-up games. Without their quickies, it’s very difficult to see how India will take 20 wickets in a match despite the Aussies predilection to self-destruct on occasion. Let’s face it, there is unlikely to be much help for the spinners (though Graeme Swann enjoyed himself Down Under last winter). Likewise, however, how is Australia’s inexperienced attack to bowl out India‘s formidable batting line-up twice? MS Dhoni and his team have bounced back well from their humiliation in England, beating Bangladesh and the West Indies in subsequent series. Their ageing squad isn’t quite ready for the scrapheap just yet on that evidence and I fancy they may just know too much for their hosts, though don’t expect too many close finishes.
India can be backed at 107/50 to win the Test series in Australia with betfair and the 33/1 available at Ladbrokes and sportingbet for a 0-1 correct score could be interesting. I wouldn’t look beyond the 9/2 available at bet365, Skybet and Stan James about David Warner being Australia’s top batsman.
- India to win Test series in Australia at 107/50 (betfair)
- India to win series 1-0 at 33/1 (Ladbrokes and sportingbet)
- David Warner to be top Australian batsman at 9/2 (bet365, Skybet, Stan James)