3 Predictions: India vs Australia in Mohali
We’re back! It’s been a long time between drinks for an Australian match to kick off, but at least we’re eager and ready for it all to begin. October Test matches for me represent the spiritual start to the Australian season (even though they are never held in Australia). Something about looking outside to see sunlight for the first time in months, it definitely means it is time to roll pitches and mow outfields.
This Test series is pivotal for India gaining some respect in international circles as a rightful No. 1 on the Test rankings. In a similar vein, Australia needs to ramp up their Ashes preparations with some promising results. During one of this website’s first posts, I drafted out what Australia needs to do in India to get ready for the Ashes. There is no room for error; two tests left to select the proper side going forward. Those Aussies with a memory long enough will have nightmares over the 2008 test match held here, resulting in a 320 run thumping at the hands of everyone (the only India not to get to 50 or more in either innings was Laxman.) It is a vastly different side that Australia is playing now that said, with no Hayden, Lee, Siddle or White. The new players (and Watson opening instead of coming in at 7) changes the dynamic of this team.
India will be tinkering with their team throughout this series, to get the balance right prior to the South Africa Tests over Christmas. This isn’t a new occurrence for India, as they’ve regularly mixed up their bowlers for the last few years. I want to say that their four will be Zaheer, Harbhajan, Mishra and Sharma, but I cannot divine such information at this stage. The BCCI is too unpredictable. My man Cheteshwar Pujara will likely sit out, but Suresh Raina has earned his spot after a long apprenticeship.
All in all, it makes for a great Test series, even if it’s of the a concentrated, hastily put together, two-match kind. Just as pressing of an issue is how the True Allrounders are yet to get on the scoreboard for the 3 Predictions series and will be desperate to atone for those misses.
Nathan Hauritz will pick up a 5-for.
This will be a great chance for Nathan Hauritz to deny his critics any more foul words, to which I think he’ll take this game by the scruff of the neck. Needs to get long bowling spells, but Ponting will surely take this into account. Kumble, Mishra, Kaneria and Swann/Panesar have all taken wickets on this surface; I don’t doubt that Hauritz will join them.
Suresh Raina will continue on his prolific scoring ways
The man with a 111.50 Test batting average will continue to keep it high. I predict he will score fifty plus in either innings. Raina is having one of the best years on record so far, with his IPL/CLT20 efforts being matched by ODI and Test match successes as well. Won’t go on the record, as his international career is still fledgling, but you don’t get given the caretaker captaincy of India without good reason. He is the next legacy player for India, so to sustain that moniker, his scores will help to prove it. Wouldn’t be surprised if he ilks out a 100 in one of these tests, but South Africa looks set for a run-onslaught by Suresh.
There will be an Iron Fortress innings by someone (A batting innings of 250 or more balls)
Indian pitches are built for resilience and high scoring from the batting side. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a long drawn out fightback by the likes of Rahul Dravid or Simon Katich, or otherwise a smash-fest by a bludgeoner like Shane Watson or Virender Sehwag. Someone will stick around for 250 or more balls in a single innings and anchor the effort of their side, probably leading towards victory.
Johnson to be the pick of the fast bowlers
Along with (of all people) Shane Watson, Johnson was the only bowler who was in near good nick in the 2008 Border Gavaskar Trophy. With Lee out of puff and out of favour with the captain, along with an injury to Stuart Clark, Johnson took 13 wickets to head up Australia’s bowling effort. His action is conducive to reverse swing bowling, crucial on near dead pitches on the sub continent.
Katich to roll the arm over for at least 15 overs and pick up a wicket in the game
In the lead up to the tour, Simon Katich has started bowling again to prepare himself for a potentially heavy workload with ball (at least for a part timer); he has had ongoing issues with his left (bowling) shoulder, which may explain why Ponting has not bowled Katich as much in Test series, even if it is just to change things up on the field. For the first time in a long time, Australia will may well have all spin options up their sleeve in the test series- off spin from Hauritz, leg spin from Smith, left arm orthodox from Clarke, left arm unorthodox from Katich.
North to get to a half century during the match
North isn’t the fan’s favourite here at the True Allrounder, but he seemed to pace himself well during the tour match against the Board President’s XI. The notoriously slow and nervous starter eased his way into the game with Tim Paine doing most of the scoring at the start of his time at the crease, then really opened up to the spinners once he passed his half century. Time for a double digit score today Marcus!
What do you predict will happen over the next week? List your predictions in the comments below.