The Border-Gavaskar Trophy might already be decided but the series is still up for grabs as Australia and India head to Sydney for the fourth and final Test starting this Thursday. The tourists can secure a series win with a win or draw at the SCG while the Aussies can salvage a drawn series if they are successful in Sydney. We take a look at the 4th Test and give our betting tips below.
The Australian selectors will face some interesting decisions over the coming days as they look to repair a broken batting line-up in the lead up to the fourth Test. Now that the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has been decided, the final Test against India and the two upcoming matches against Sri Lanka will likely act as auditions for the all-important Ashes series coming up this winter.
While the bowling attack looks pretty set, the top six remains a massive problem for the Australians. They were bowled out for just 151 in the first innings followed by a dismal 261 in the second. The top six failed to make a single half-century between them over the two innings and will likely face some sort of change up for the final Test.
Queensland all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne has already been called up to the squad and looks certain to come into the team while opener Aaron Finch’s place in the side is in jeopardy after a lacklustre series to date.
India selected two new opening batsmen for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and while Hanuma Vihari looked shaky at the top of the order, the tourists might have found a gem in Mayank Agarwal, who compiled 76 and 42 in the two innings. With the trophy wrapped up, the Indians could experiment with 19-year-old phenomenon Prithvi Shaw, who has a Test average of 118.50 through two Tests.
Playing two spinners at the SCG has long been the go-to strategy for Test teams, and the Aussies bringing in Marnus Labuschagne as a second spinning option as well as a valuable lower order batsman seems the right call. India will likely bring back injured spinner Ravi Ashwin to play alongside Ravi Jadeja, who was great in the Boxing Day Test, whether the tourists will make the change at the expense of a fast bowler or batsman is the question. India have been known to play five bowlers at times throughout their recent history, especially given the fact that both Ashwin and Jadeja average 60 between them and both boast Test match hundreds.
With the SCG likely to be spin friendly and the Aussies only selecting a part time spinner to match Nathan Lyon, we think Lyon will get plenty of reps this Test match and should pick up at least 2 or 3 wickets in each innings. His player performance line looks a little low.
Travis Head looks to be another player who has a slightly low player performance line. He has been the only Australian batsman that has shown some resolve in the Australian middle order and is currently the leading run scorer in the series for the Aussies. He has compiled 217 runs at an average of 36.16 through the three Tests so far and will probably get a bump up the batting order from five to four with Aaron Finch likely getting dropped from the team.
Once again it’s tough to pick a winner before the toss. We predicted the team batting first to win the match in the Boxing Day Test and you could still get on India at $2 after they won the toss and elected to bat.
The team batting first has won all three of the Test matches so far and with an SCG pitch that is likely to deteriorate and favour the spinners heavily in the fourth innings, we think the team batting first will likely have a massive advantage once again in Sydney. However, out of all of the Australian pitches, the Indian batsmen will likely feel most at home on the spin friendly SCG pitch. They also possess two of the best spinners in the world who spin the ball different ways. India should be too good once again in Sydney and claim a Test and series win.
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