And so the series that promised so much, yet delivered so little comes to an end.
So far the series has been like an old engine that refuses to start, its made some funny noises, promised to kick start but just dies on you in the end.
We now head to Nagpur, the equation is simple. Australia need to win to retain the trophy and India need at least a draw to wrest it back from the Aussies.
Who would have thought that after this performance by Jason Kreza, he would have ever been contention for test debut.
But he is. Which goes to show the trouble the Aussies are having in finding a spinner or rather any bowler who can help them get 20 wickets.
The Aussies have a belief that Indians play off spin worse than leg spin. It may be based on the legendary Splendid Mendis’s heroics in Sri Lanka but it would quite the push to claim that Krejza can kick it up Mendis style
As the series has gone on the Aussie batters have stepped up to the mark. Barring the 2nd test flop, the top order have been in the runs. More is expected and with Haydens return to form things are looking peachy.
Bowling– Can they get 20 wickets?
Its a good question. Australia have only collected 37 of the 60 wickets on offer in the first 3 tests. The lack of variation in the bowling was telling in Delhi. Micheal Clarke and Simon Katich offer some respite for the fast men but they have proved to be quite ineffective thus far.
Can Krejza make a difference ? It is unlikely. The only positive that the Australians can take from Delhi with regards to their bowlers was that Brett Lee seemed to have found his rhythm.
Gambir’s ban for this test may just offer them a chance to get the early breakthrough that has eluded them.
New captain. New opener.
Although the latter would the lesser of their worries.
Needing only a draw to seal the series the Indians may opt to sit back and see how the game progresses.
Batting– Gambir absent.
But will it cost India. Murali Vijay comes into the team on the back of double hundred in domestic cricket but he will be under a different kind of pressure all together in a whole new ball game.
Needing a win to square the series and retain the trophy the ‘Stralians will come hard at the new guy. This major glitch in the batting line up may just offer the opening the Aussies have been looking for to get in to the middle order.
And with Dravid struggling and Sehwag being inconsistent, the top 3 look dodgy for India.
The rest of the batting line up is solid. It will also be Gangulys last test. So be sure to keep a close eye on him.
If not dangerous. Ishant and Zaid have been consistent through out the series and if Harbajan is fit the Indians will have a strong bowling line up that could propel them to a win in Nagpur.
Mishra was below par in Delhi and it will be good to watch him ply his trade on another helpful surface.
Leadership– Its all about Dhoni.
India are an entirely different team under Dhoni and it was no surprise that the test they won was under him.
Dhoni is the man everyone wants a pat on the back from and to be on the good books with.
He is definitely a better captain than Ponting and may just be the difference between the teams.
Prediction– I love the underdog
Its not often that the Australians are the underdog in test cricket. But times have changed and here we are. I love the underdog so I’m gonna stick my head out and say an Aussie win.
It will be made tough cuz India will play 7 batsmen and look for the stalemate. But if Lee and the quicks get past the openers and Krejza somehow pulls something out of the bag we could be in for a treat.
Go the underdog !