A two test series is never fair… and absolutely not right especially when India play Australia… 3 tests minimum are required however ideal would be 5 test matches. This is what happens when you dont schedule Test series and then end up chopping ODI series to accomodate a Test series.
However a two test series it is… and hence the need to begin well.
The two teams are quite evenly matched, the Australian seam bowling is certainly better, however they will be playing on flat India tracks and so that will get negated. The Indian bowling, unless Zaheer is fully fit, doesnt evoke any fear whatsover but the thing about India-Australia is that logic doesnt quite work. Harbhajan has looked as flat as he can, however you cant write him off, as its his favourite enemy, however I dont expect him to just run through them. Zaheer will be the key and he must remain fit.
The batting also compares, however India here has an Ace in its pack, Virender Sehwag. Whilst all other 21 players can and are going to be a huge influence in the series, however, if Sehwag gets going against the new ball, all the talk about him not liking bumpers et all will be proven rubbish. The most massive benefit that India get from Sehwag is that once he fires the nerves settle, the rest of the batting is almost without pressure as the opposing captains cant think anything beyond stopping Sehwag. He wont allow the spinners to bowl and in this heat after a spell of 4-5 overs the quickies cant quite be bowling at their optimum !
The Australian top 5 are quite strong, however, if India can strike a couple with the new ball, I think North and Tim Paine will have to prove their worth, this is where I think India can again show their strength. Raina and Dhoni especially the former should not have any troubles on Indian flat pitches atleast, what goes without saying is he will be dished some real chin music !!
Actually if the organisers serve some very flat pitches, forcing results will be difficult, I think as a skipper Dhoni will need to use more imagination. Ponting has always bordered on the defensives a little more and that should be to India’s advantage. Dhoni in my opinion must resist playing Ojha, even though he will give Dhoni a lot more control, and go with Mishra who might be expensive but a leg spinner is so much more of an attacking option !!
Whilst, Gambhir and Zaheer’s form and injury will give India butterflies… the spinners will be having sleepless nights in the Australian camp. Expect Ponting to actually play a whole lot better than earlier times he has in India. The advantage that India has is even if Sehwag fails, there is Sachin who off late has rediscovered his purple patch and is batting as beautifully as he can, Dravid can shore up and due his usual jig… and then there is VVS who simply loves devouring the Aussie bowling. Australian pacers will have to be thwarted, if that is done, India can emerge winners…
This will be an interesting battle to watch, I just cant wait for the first ball and thank Heavens its on 1st, not in the month end… whats more it starts on a Friday !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!