Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Preview - Aus Ind 4th Test Adelaide 11/12

While the series is dead, this match is potentially the most interesting.

Australia are wanting to end this series on a high note. India need redemption.

There is going to be a spotlight on both wicket keepers. Haddin desperately needs a good match. At the moment it is hard to see how he is keeping his spot. He doesn't look to be in as good form with the gloves as some of the keepers in the BBL, (although there is a big difference between test and domestic t20) and also seems to be batting out of a hole.

Saha has sat on the sidelines for about 38 years (it must feel like) watching Dhoni. Now he gets his chance. He is in good form with the bat, averaging 117 in his last 4 first class matches, and that might prove to be a welcome boost for India.

The transition from Dhoni's captaincy to Sehwag's will be interesting. Adelaide is a challenging place to captain a team, with very long straight boundaries and short square ones. Sehwag's last attempt on a pitch like this was vs NZ at McLean Park in Napier. New Zealand scored 619/9d at 4 an over after being 23/3. If he gets an opening like that against Australia he needs to capitalise on it, although that is a lot easier to say from my chair than his.

History would say that Adelaide offers the best chance for India. It is a batsman's ground, with both spinners and quick bowlers averaging over 40 there in the last 10 years. It is one of 14 grounds in the world to hold that distinction. Over the last 5 years India has played 13 matches at grounds in this category. They have won 4, lost 1 and drawn 8. Australia has played 8, won 1, lost 2 and drawn 5. In the last 3 games on these surfaces between the two countries, India have won 1, and 2 have been draws.

Likewise Austraia have had mixed results at Adelaide recently. The last 4 matches have seen a win and a loss, both by an innings and 2 draws. One of the draws was against India.

Things to watch for:

1. How does Saha go? It's one thing hitting unbeaten hundreds in Indian domestic cricket. Doing it in Australia is another issue.

2. How will VVS Laxman do? This pitch is likely to suit him more than the others, but he has been in such poor form it would not be surprising if he had another poor game.

3. Shaun Marsh. In all likely-hood this match is looking like a very important one for Marsh's career. He has underperformed badly so far this series, and while he has shown us that he is capable of succeeding, he needs to prove that he is more than another Marcus North by putting together a good innings (or 2) here.

4. India's fielding and running. Australia have scored 226 more runs than India in this series. However they have only scored 34 more runs in boundaries. Australia have run better, and been better at preventing India running. Australia's activity rate is roughly 0.34 while India are at about 0.25. Part of this is because Australia have been bowling more of a 5th/6th stump line, and slightly forward of a good length as their standard delivery, where as India have bowled a slightly shorter 4th stump as their standard delivery. The fuller wider bowling makes it harder to work singles, but easier to hit boundaries. However India still have had a number of opportunities to score more by running, and have let too many easy runs in through sloppy fielding. Will the change to Sehwag make a difference? I personally doubt it.

5. Forget Tendulkar's hundred, can anyone from India make one? So far India's top scores in this series is 83. They have had the same number of batsmen get to 50 as Australia, but 4 of the Australians managed to convert to 100's. Over the last 10 years Indian batsmen have scored one away century for every 17 innings. So far this test they have had 66 innings without one. Traditionally the probability of an Indian batsman getting to 100 once they had got to 50 away from home is about 30%. So we would have expected 4 centurys given that they had been past fifty 14 times. Surely that trend will break at the benign Adelaide Oval.

Betting tips.

The last couple of matches have not been good. My overall success rate has dropped from about 1.4 (40c profit from every dollar bet) to about 1.05, so hopefully I can make it up to you all this time round.

1. Kohli top Indian batsman 1st innings - $6.50 - He looks like he is coming into form. I'd pick this as about a 25% probability, which makes these good odds.

2. Harris top Australia bowler 1st innings - $3.50 - Lillee said that Adelaide suited bowlers who bowled good cutters. Harris seemed to do this in the bits of the last match that I watched. He also bowled much better than his figures indicated.

3. Tendulkar 86 and over - player performance - $1.83 - I genuinely think he will get his hundred here.

4. Saha 71 and over - player performance - $1.83 - I'd expect him to take at least 2 catches which is 20 points. Then 51 runs in 2 innings seems getable.

5. Siddle 110 and over - player performance - $1.83 - It wouldn't be a massive surprise if he picked up 2 wickets in one innings and 3 in the other, and chipped in with 20 with the bat.

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