Where: Adelaide Oval
When: December 9th-13th
After the tragic passing of talented young Aussie batsman Phil Hughes, the cricket world has been in mourning. It seems an eternity ago that Australia took care of South Africa in the one-day series as the warm-up for a four Test series against India. It’s easy to forget how good the Aussies were in that one-day series against a high-quality team. Now they have to somehow put the loss of their mate behind them and get back down to business for this Test series.
No matter how ready they think they are, no one knows how they will cope walking back out onto the field on Day 1 in Adelaide. Emotions are going to be extremely high. The first session and first day usually sets up a whole series, and this session is going to be vital for the Aussies. It’s a session that everyone will be watching with great interest.
It’s very easy to see the Aussie team getting caught up in the emotion of it all. Bowlers haven’t had much game time so they are likely to be erratic. Batsmen will be rusty and may struggle to be mentally switched on. Obviously preparations have been less than ideal. How will they be able to keep things in check for that first session? It’s going to be a real challenge.
There is a great chance for the Indians to capitalize early if the Aussies are not on their game. The Indians have also had disrupted preparations but they won’t have the emotional rush of the Aussies, and they are a good team when their confidence is up.
The Indian team is missing some of the great batsmen of years gone by, but they are still full of super-talented cricketers. Explosive opener Shikhar Dhawan will take it right up to the Aussie quicks, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are ready to launch their Test careers to the next level, while captain MS Dhoni is now a chance of playing after originally planning to miss the 1st Test due to injury. However it looks like talented young quick bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar may be in doubt with an ankle injury.
The Aussie skipper also has an injury cloud over his head but you get the feeling Michael Clarke is not going to miss this for the world. His legacy will be the way he handled the loss of Hughes, and winning this Test will be the final chapter of his eulogy. The selection discussion will be with the Australian fast bowlers with only two of Harris, Siddle and Hazlewood to play, with Johnson and Lyon certainties. It’s doubtful they risk both Harris, coming back from a knee injury, and debutant Hazelwood so the youngster will probably have to carry the drinks.
Weather: The weather should be mostly clear. There’s a possibility of some showers on Day 2 on Wednesday but any time lost should be easily made up on the other days.
Verdict: India will no doubt be happy to start this series on the flatter track of Adelaide than at the bouncy Gabba. However they are still the worst travelling side in the world. Once the Aussies settle, they will make sure they win one for Hughesy, but expect some nervous moments in the opening session/day where India may be able to grab an early advantage due to the overwhelming emotion.
Australia to win 1st Test @$1.75 at Ladbrokes (5 units)
Ravi Ashwin most match wickets vs Nathan Lyon @$1.87 at Luxbet (3 units)
Highest Opening Partnership 1st Innings - Australia @$1.79 at Sportsbet (2 units)
David Warner most runs Australia 1st Innings @$4.00 at Luxbet (1 unit using promo below)
Ravi Ashwin top India wicket taker 1st innings @$4.50 at Ladbrokes (1 unit)
Team with most run outs - Draw @$2.15 at Luxbet (1 unit)
There seems to only be two likely scenarios for this series. It appears unlikely India can win a Test, so either back the Aussies to dominate, or allow for weather to affect one match for a draw. Backing both looks a profitable play.
Assuming the Aussies are dominant then it’s likely they will have the leading run scorers. There are question marks over several of the Aussies in terms of fitness and form, but two men stand out for their consistency and that’s where we’ll put our money.
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