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Around the Wicket - 3rd Test Preview

The 3rd test begins in Delhi on Wednesday, and it is last roll of the dice stuff for the Aussies. If they lose here, the Border/Gavaskar trophy returns to India. A draw keeps the series alive heading into the final test, and an Aussie win, whilst improbable, would tie the series up with one to play. The bookies have decided that India is the favourite to win at $2.50, a draw will get you $2.60, and an Australian win is worth $3.50. Given that Delhi is usually a big Bunsen burner, the odds on a draw aren’t worth looking at. There will be a result here.

Much has been made of India’s record at the Kotla ground in Delhi – the scribes are quick to point out that India has won its last 7 tests there. What they fail to mention though, is that in the last 10 years, only 5 tests have actually been played there. Of those 5, India has wins over Pakistan (2), Sri Lanka (1), and Zimbabwe (2). It’s also the scene of Anil Kumble’s finest hour – when he took all 10 Pakistani wickets back in 1999. The Feroz Shah Kotla is a smallish ground, and is expected to be a big turner – so expect to see a lot of spin, and a lot of sixes.

Australia goes in as rank underdog again. There are still queries on Stuart Clark’s fitness – but I expect him to play. It’s too important a test match to have him sitting on the sidelines, and the word is that he’s bowling pretty much pain free at the moment. There’s been some talk that Jason Krezja will debut as well. I don’t know if that means White will be dropped – but I suggest he will be. Krazy Krezja at least deserves a go sometime on the tour. I’d say this is his best opportunity.

India will probably go in with just the one change. I think Mishra will probably make way for Kumble, which will please the Aussies. But then again – they might just as easily drop a quick bowler, and play 3 spinners. You never can tell with Indian selection. However, I wouldn’t expect them to play 3 frontline spinners here, because they do have Sehwag’s off spinners, and Tendulkar’s underutilised leg spinners if they need them.

I will be keeping a close watch on a couple of things. The first is Ponting’s captaincy. It has looked uninspired and unimaginative this tour. He’s preferred to stick to pre made plans, rather than captain by instinct.

Matthew Hayden interests me as well. He’s been upfront and decided he’s going to try and smack the bowling around. It could be none or a hundred for the Big Unit. Australia needs a hundred.

We also need Brett Lee to show why he’s being given the new ball. It’s been a very disappointing tour from him so far. We know of his marriage break up - should he even be in India? It can be a lonely place, and I wonder where he’s at mentally.

It will be interesting to see if Kumble is 100% match fit, and whether he gets through the match. I get the feeling he’s just barely hanging on. The man has been a giant for India – but you just sense he’s a waning force. I hope he exits the game with the dignity and class he has shown for most of his career, and doesn’t hang around longer than he needs to. This series will most likely be his swansong – especially if they win it.

And that’s exactly what I see happening at Delhi. I don’t think the Aussies will have enough weaponry to take 20 wickets for the win, and I don’t believe the pitch will lend itself to a draw.

Expect an Indian win sometime on the 4th day.
Mon 27/10/2008 Dave Bremner 88 views

4 Comments about this article

  • When was the last time Australia paid $3.50? I do hope that Clark plays, we need his steady hand especially with Lee under baked. Hayden looks like he has played 1 season too many & I think the only thing keeping him in the team mid to long term is Filthy Phil's shaggers back.
    If you want to put $ on an Aussie to be Man Of The Match, look at Pup. He is in form with the bat & will take wickets on the dustbowl pitch. The pitch is cracking up 2 days before the Test! The BCCI is a disgrace.

    Posted by Barry Mackenzie Tue Oct 28, 2008 01:09am AEST
  • The last time Australia paid $3.50 was... the 2nd test of this series. Hayden either looks underdone or overdone... I can't decide which yet. If he fails here, and Australia lose - he won't play the 4th test. Shaun Marsh will.

    Posted by Dave Bremner Tue Oct 28, 2008 09:47am AEST
  • na, he won't get dropped till the ashes are re-won next year

    i think katich's place will be taken by marsh though

    Posted by Udara Wis Tue Oct 28, 2008 01:34pm AEST
  • I cannot see Katto being dropped for Marsh until Jaques is fit.

    Posted by Barry Mackenzie Wed Oct 29, 2008 04:26am AEST

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