Great series in the cards
I want to write about the ongoing India – Australia series in the upcoming stage but I didn’t get sometime for that. But yesterday I got leave (thanks to last day of navarathri) and now I got a chance. In the last 7 years India has become the team to beat for the Australians. Now India has the chance to settle the scores for the series defeat in Australia earlier this year.
Let me analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the team:
The strength of the Australians in this series will be their batting. I think they have got decent batsmen until No.11. As we have seen in the practice game even Stuart Clark bats with a purpose. Key batsmen will be Hayden, Ponting, Clarke and Hussey. For Hayden in India all the grounds are for happy hunting. Ponting is always a big match player who can play a match winning innings on any day. I always admire him for his style of play. Clarke is a fine player of spin. It will be great contest to watch as he battles it out against Kumble and Bhajji. Hussey is the man whom Australia will look out to hold the innings together in the middle order as he does that with aplomb in his short span of international cricket. What a commitment he has been showing towards the game. Amazing!! Already he has made a statement (Beware Indians) with a 100 in the practice match. They will miss the big hitting of Gilchrist and Symonds. Now it’s interesting to see how their replacements (Shane Watson, Haddin and Cameron White) going to perform.
This is the weakest bowling Australia has got in the recent times. Brett Lee will be the leader of the attack and Ponting will depend on him for the initial breakthroughs. Clark will be difficult to get away as he is so accurate. Mitchell Johnson and Watson will complete this pace quartet. If you argue that the same set of bowlers bowled well in the recently concluded India-Australia series in Australia then the pitches in the India are totally different and they have got a decent spinner in Brad Hogg at that time. This time, they have only part time spinners (Clarke and White) to bowl. Their lone specialist spinner Krazeja had a very disappointing match against Board President XI. So I think he will contend with bowling in nets. Fielding is always been the high point of Australia and it continues to do so.
As far as Indian batting is concerned, it is not in the best shape. Even though it contains world class players in their middle order, their form is not so encouraging off late. But as we all know they can turn it around. The key members in this lineup will be Sehwag, Laxman and Dravid. The sort of opening Sehwag going to provide at the top will decide the course of the Indian innings. He can score big and India will be hoping for him to come good. Laxman is always a happy man to score heavily against Australia. Dravid at No.3 has to hold the Indian innings together which he did so many times. But now he is going through very lean patch. Sachin has to spend sometime at the wicket to get into his ways of scoring and India will be hoping for that. Then there is Sourav, Gambhir and Dhoni who all completes the once strong Indian batting lineup.
Surprisingly Indian bowling looks far better than their batting. It has the variety to trouble the Australians. This time Harbhajan will be the leader of the attack. Once he gets his feet then he will be dictating the terms. Kumble will be looking for some wickets with his accuracy. Pace bowling is equally good as the spin. Now-a-days Zaheer added lot of variety to his bowling and he will look to get some wickets with the new ball. Ishant has improved well to open the bowling and he will be banking on his ability to extract bounce from any kind of wicket. They have got Munaf in the reserves, who will come in if they choose for 5-man bowling attack. Fielding is not a high point of India and it continues to do so.
The series will be decided how the Australian batting fares against the Indian bowling. If some of the Indian batsmen finds their form then the result will be 2 – 0. Else it will be 2 – 1 but in favor of Australia.
First test, first day:
As I got leave yesterday, I had seen an interesting day of a test match if not fascinating. Ponting played very well for his ton but had his luck against Kumble. Katich gave him a good company as this two added 166. Then Hussey played a fine innings for his 46 and he is still at the crease. If you think that Indians bowled badly then you have to change your decision. Indian bowling is so accurate that the Australians found difficult to get away. Ponting is very fluent batsman but, even he couldn’t play his shots after settling down. It’s a great job done by the Indian bowlers.
Zaheer was the pick of the bowlers. Whenever he has got the ball(old or new), done something with that. I have seen a delivery of his, which cut back from offside to clip the bails of the off stump. And also during bowling with old ball he has seen Ponting is standing well outside the crease to deny the LBW. So he came around the wicket, asked Dhoni to stand up to the stumps and made the ball to cut into the right hander, thus troubling Ponting. And for all his hard work he got the wicket of Clarke with the one hat swung back at the last over of the day. Kumble is not far behind; he is as accurate as ever but lost the magical delivery that will zip into the right hander from around the off stump. He is unlucky to go wicket less. Harbhajan and Ishant too bowled well in patches to get a wicket each.
This first day has shown what we can expect from this series; an interesting battle between bat and the ball.
And I missed the match until lunch thanks to the power cut in Chennai.