Posted by: nestaquin | October 6, 2008

Underdog Australia??

It is beyond memory the last time Australia entered a Test series as raging underdogs yet, if the pundits are to be believed, that is indeed the case as the squad prepares for the First Test against India at Bangalore this Thursday.

Is it warranted? Or just the usual infantile hype that dribbles out of India on an all too regular basis. A quick look at the combatant’s recent records would suggest that the low opinion of Australia’s chances are more wishful thinking than an assertion based in reality.

In the last three years, Australia has played 26 Tests, winning 22, drawing three, and losing only one. In that time they have played nine series and won them all comfortably.

By comparison, India within the same timeframe, has played 34 matches, winning eleven, losing nine, with 14 drawn. Of eleven series contested they have won less than half and haven’t secured a victory in their last three outings, losing to Australia and Sri Lanka and coming from behind to draw with South Africa at home earlier this year.

So, in the weird and wonderful world of cricketing assumptions, a relatively unchanged team that hasn’t won a series in their last three are overwhelming favourites against a side that has lost just the one series in their last 26.

Excuse me for scoffing and laughing out loud.

Admittedly, Australia are coming in underdone from a lengthy off-season and there have been forced personnel changes but they have won the last three series contested between the nations and India are hardly the fit, motivated and superbly prepared mob that Australia met in England in 2005.

The visitors are vulnerable but India aren’t that impressive nor is Australia as hopeless as the press would have us believe.

Tomorrow: A critical look at Australia’s likely line-up for the Bangalore Test.

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Responses

  1. HI Great Post I really found it Interesting. Looking forward for similar posts from you

  2. In the UK, most pundits and people I know are expecting an Aus win. I have to say that I am taking India to shade it 2-1. Here’s my reasoning.

    1. It’s hard for touring teams to hit the ground running with so little preparation time these days. Aus don’t usually worry about such niceties, but the team look more human these days and might not be in perfect rhythm from the off.

    2. India’s big guns have a lot to prove. Dravid and Tendulkar have copped more flak than ever they have and Ganguly is in the Last Chance Saloon (again). Kumble’s poor form must make him very keen to deliver as skipper.

    3. India ran Aus close last time away from home.

    4. (And much the biggest) Who will give Punter the old ball control while he rests 30-something new ball bowlers Lee and Clark? Johnson can tire quickly for such a fine athlete, with the arm getting lower and lower, Watson is a better bat than bowler and White will surely be milked / hammered out of the attack by Laxman and Dhoni if he isn’t being Sehwagged and Tendulkared.

    The Aus top 6 may well get 400, but the late order may only raise that to 480, but will even 500 be enough?

    Conjecture of course, but it’s a series to look forward to and one that’ll answer a lot of questions.

  3. All valid points Toots and I do expect a close series, however, I think a couple of high scoring draws are likely.

    If Australia can win one Test, the first at Bangalore, where India haven’t won for a decade, would be perfect, then they should have one hand on the trophy considering India must win the series to claim it.

    It should be noted that the wickets are fresh after the monsoon season, the ball will swing in the morning sessions and there will be pace, bounce and carry especially at the first three venues.

    Also, as much as India is infamous for being congenial to spin, the two best spinners of their generation, perhaps of all-time, Murali and Warne, both average around 40 per wicket, in Tests there.

    The veteran Indian batsman do have plenty to prove but not as much as the Australian captain who has failed miserably on past tours to India.

    Hopefully, from an Australian perspective, the Indian Fab 4 play for themselves, as they did in Sri Lanka, and not for the team because that makes draws all the more likely.

    I don’t mind if they all score triple centuries because the time it takes will render the match a stalemate.

    Additionally, if they score meaningless runs in drawn matches then it is less likely that talents like Rohit Sharma, Kohli and Badrinath will get a cap. They can rip England to shreds in December!

    With White and Watson playing Australia will bat deep and I expect Pup Clarke to bowl plenty of tight probing overs. He is an underrated option with impressive figures (ave 21 eco 2.66) that probably won’t improve but he’ll do a good job.

    Australians dominated the IPL and I expect that many of them will once again enjoy the conditions and atmosphere that India offers.

    No predictions from me just yet but I do think that the team that drops the fewest catches will win.

  4. I like Pup Clarke’s flat darts (very English!) and if he keeps one end fairly tight (say 15-3-40-0) that’ll allow the new ball bowlers a break. It’s spinners who bowl for wickets who might go for a few (although even an Aussie must appreciate VVS going inside out to cover drive on ball then leg-side whip to the next ball off the same line and length)!

    Now Dravid’s patience / concentration is waning and Wasim Jaffar appears out of favour, I think the Indians will score quickly on wickets with a bit of pace. Getting Hussey out early might be the key to getting through Aus: despite his modest record, not letting MS Dhoni get away and raise the crowd might be the key to closing out India.

    And yes – the young guns are lined up for England if the old hands fail against Aus! Great!

  5. PS Nesta – Great to have you back here!

  6. I’ve enjoyed the off-season Toots and I’m refreshed and prepared for the long march to next year’s Ashes.

    The Indians like to score with boundaries and by using canny in/out fields and bowling to their strengths Australia made them earn their runs last tour of India.

    They didn’t appreciate having to run ones and twos and build an innings and many gave their wickets away in frustration. I expect the Aussie pacemen will employ similar tactics and test the work ethic of the pampered millionaires in the blue caps.

    If the hosts are to win they’ll be made to earn it.

    And I will make a prediction after all. Stu Clark to top the visitors bowling averages and aggregate.

    And if they don’t get Hussey out often and early India will find the going tough. Like Border and SWaugh before him if I had to choose a current batsman to bat for my life I’d choose Mr. Cricket in an instant.

  7. Its going to be a 4:0 in favor of India.

  8. i belive i agree with u Toots


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