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Cricket: Australia look to overpower troubled India

Bay 13 at the MCG on Boxing Day is an institution.  Hot, rowdy, and full of Australia hundreds.  In the past Australian centuries on the 26th of December had been on the Christmas wish-lists of many Bay 13 cricket fans, and Santa almost always delivered.  This year, Warner and Smith will be leading the charge, and Bay 13 will be expecting big runs from their boys against an Indian bowling attack that last match struggled to dislodge any of Australia’s final four batsman.

A series that started with so much promise appears to be heading in the same direction as most other Indian tours of Australia – a whitewash.  It shouldn’t be though – the Indians have been competitive (rarely with the ball, but definitely with the bat) throughout and could have taken something from either of the first two games by winning the key sessions.

The viewing therefore, from Bay 13, will be of that of a dominant team against an underdog.  Powerful and confident Australia against an India side desperate to plug a leaky ship.  Either way and whoever you support, it should make for intriguing viewing.

The Last Time These Two Met

Brisbane served up an anti-climax after such a fascinating beginning to the series in Adelaide.  Although the Indians had two moments of opportunity on day one and day three the match finished abruptly and in a state of unrest.  Mitchell Johnson was the chief destroyer in the four wicket win, but it has also emerged that a dressing room spat between Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan played a part too.

The Teams

Australia (likely): 1 Chris Rogers, 2 David Warner, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Shaun Marsh, 6 Joe Burns, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Ryan Harris, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Nathan Lyon.

India (likely): 1 M Vijay, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Rohit Sharma, 7 MS Dhoni (capt,wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Varun Aaron, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Ishant Sharma.

The Key Players

Brad Haddin – Michael Clarke came out during the week in full support of his struggling wicket-keeper demanding he is a part of the Ashes squad next year.  However, Haddin’s form with the bat will need to drastically improve over the coming game to guarantee a plane seat.  Often the saviour for the home side, Haddin has been so short of runs in the series that Murphy (Law) is telling me he’s a good tip for top scorer in this one.

Ishant Sharma – The giant fast bowler has been in the spotlight this tour but not always for the right reasons.  There were rumours he was late to day four of the Brisbane test then had to buy food outside of the ground and wasn’t allowed back in, and he was also fined some of his match fee for offensive language.  Bowling wise he has mixed the good with the bad, and has struggled to find the consistency needed for the most experience bowler in the side.  Perhaps his three wickets in Australia’s second innings in Brisbane could turn around his fortunes.

The Odds*

Australia – $1.56

Draw – $4.00

India – $6.00

*International Cricket odds courtesy of BetEasy.

The Prediction

The media focus this week has been on India’s shambolic Brisbane defeat and the rumoured disharmony in the camp.  Therefore it’s difficult to predict anything other than an Australian victory.  There are some injury concerns for the hosts including Shaun March and Shane Watson but any replacements should be able to build on the Brisbane momentum and send Australia three clear.

Also have a look at these BetEasy options:

Highest Opening Partnership – India $2.15

Man of the Match – Brad Haddin $34.00

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