Well, it's almost here, Day 1 of the first test of the Border-Gavaskar trophy. The Boxing Day test.
A cool overcast day in Melbourne should provide good conditions for the bowlers. A reasonably fresh pitch should make the first session exciting. Australia's attacking batsmen (particularly Warner and Marsh) coming against Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma.
Sharma is the key for me. We know that Zaheer Khan is an outstanding bowler, but Sharma has been in patchy form recently, averaging 61.06 in his last 7 test matches with an appalling strike rate of 105.9. However Sharma has shown that he might be on the way back taking 22 wickets in the 3 matches against the West Indians at 26.22.
Cowan looks like the goods, and it will be interesting to see if he can replicate his recent form (hundreds in his last 3 first class matches) on his test debut.
The other big question for me will be how Ashwin will go later in the day. In his previous matches against Australia he has dismissed both Ponting and Hussey.
Some good bets:
David Warner 1st wicket $1.90
Australia to win $2.00 - India often start a series slowly - have a very bad record on green pitches
Top opening partnership India - $2.05 - much better conditions for them, combined with a more experienced lineup.
Ponting -60.6 $2.90 He's been in much better form than people think.