After the fairly comprehensive ending to the first test it is easy to forget that the game was neck and neck at the start of what turned out to be the final day.
Australia will go into this test as favourites again, but looking at the weather forecast I think that this could be a damp squib instead. With rain forecast for each of the last 3 days, $3.75 on a draw looks like very good odds.
If there is play it is likely to be interrupted play, which plays into the hands of swing bowlers. I like the look of Ben Hilfenhaus at $3.50 to be Australia's top bowler.
The curator has said that he feels this pitch is like the '50s and '60s pitches, where bowlers like Joe Partridge and Alan Davidson took truckloads of wickets by bowling full and allowing the ball to swing. Often they were backed up by a fast bowler at the other end, keeping the batsmen on the back foot. As a result the Yadav-Khan partnership could be worth watching. In some ways It could be a case of the better Yadav bowls in this test, the more wickets will fall at the other end.
Dravid is possibly going to be the key for India. On tricky pitches he has been outstanding, scoring 50 or more in 6 of the last 14 times that India have been bowled out for 300 or less. He goes well when India's backs are against the wall. (forgive the pun).
However the SCG has traditionally favoured batsmen who go for their shots. Keith Miller averaged in the 60's there, and Doug Walters, averaged over 100 at the start of his career when he was still playing shots willy-nilly. Sobers also loved the ground. Given that record it will be interesting to see how Warner and Sehwag fare here. Their attacking instincts may hold them in good stead.
No statistical analysis of this game could be complete without mentioning one important number. 221.33. Sachin Tendalkur's average at the SCG. It is the second highest average by one player at one ground Falling between Miandad's 330.5 at Niaz Stadium in Hyderabad and the Don's 192.6 at Heddingly in Leeds. (min. 4 matches played). However those runs were scored on the lower, dryer, spinnier SCG of the last 20 years, rather than the traditional green, bouncy one.
Another thing to look for is Ashwin in the first innings. He looks to me like he could become a great first innings spinner, ala Daniel Vettori. He manages to get under the bat, and bowls fuller than most spin bowlers in the longer form.
1. Draw, $3.75 - possibly only going to be a 3 day test
2. Dravid to run scorer for India, $5 - likely to be tricky conditions, his specialty.
3. Zaheer Khan top Indian bowler, $3.25 - swing is his friend.
4. Hilfenhaus top Australian bowler, $3.50 - swing + interruptions.
5. Ponting to score more than Clarke, $1.80 - Ponting averages 64 in Sydney, while Clarke averages 28.