Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide January 23, 2012

Australia aim for 4-0 whitewash


Match facts

January 24-28, Adelaide Oval
Start time 1030 (0000 GMT)

Big Picture

Four weeks ago, the first Test started in Melbourne on Boxing Day amid great expectations of a closely-fought tour and India's best chance of pulling off a series win in Australia. Now after three Tests, none of which have lasted five days, the best India can hope for is a consolation victory in Adelaide. They will do so without their captain MS Dhoni, who was suspended after India's loss in Perth due to slow over rates, and under the guidance of the stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag. At least Adelaide Oval is a venue that will give the Indians hope: in their past two Tests there, they have managed a win and a draw.

As is so often the case in dead rubbers these days, there are plenty of sub-plots to keep things interesting. There is the question of whether leadership will bring out the best in Sehwag, who has had a disappointing tour with only one half-century. There is debate around the future of VVS Laxman, the most vulnerable of the seniors in India's middle order. And there's the ongoing hundredth hundred saga.

For Australia, Michael Hussey has announced his intentions to play on for the next Test tour, but the last Test of the home summer is traditionally a time for farewells, so for Australia there is the chance, albeit slim, that Ricky Ponting or Brad Haddin might call it quits after the game. There is the matter of whether Shaun Marsh or Ed Cowan can score a big hundred to secure their place whenever Shane Watson returns.

There are enough reasons to watch this Test over the next five days. Now let's just hope the match lasts that long.

Form guide

(most recent first)
Australia WWWLW

Players to watch ...

Last time the Adelaide Oval hosted a Test match, Nathan Lyon's main job was to cut the grass. Now his brief is to bowl offbreaks to some of the world's best handlers of spin. It has been a remarkable rise for Lyon, who joined the groundstaff in Adelaide last summer before being plucked out of net sessions by the state coach Darren Berry to play in the South Australia side. The rest is history. Expect plenty of support for Lyon in his first Test at his adopted home venue.

Virat Kohli has shown that there is batting talent in India beyond the seemingly untouchable seniors. He is yet to make that big hundred that will really launch his Test career but his 44 and 75 at the WACA were impressive contributions as wickets tumbled through India's two innings. He should enjoy batting at the Adelaide Oval, where he can make himself a permanent member of the Test side with a maiden century.

Team news

The offspinner Lyon will return, and the only question for Australia was which of the fast men would make way. The answer came on the day before the match: the left-armer Mitchell Starc was squeezed out and was named 12th man. Starc was impressive in Perth but still falls below Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Ryan Harris in the pecking order.

Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Ed Cowan, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Ricky Ponting, 5 Michael Clarke (capt), 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Peter Siddle, 9 Ryan Harris, 10 Ben Hilfenhaus, 11 Nathan Lyon.

Dhoni's suspension will mean the inclusion of the backup wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, while R Ashwin should return after the ill-fated experiment of using Vinay Kumar as a fourth seamer at the WACA. A progressive selection panel would consider giving Rohit Sharma a chance at the expense of the out-of-form Laxman, but India's selectors are expected to stick with the proven Laxman.

India (possible) 1 Virender Sehwag (capt), 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Rahul Dravid, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 VVS Laxman, 6 Virat Kohli, 7 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Umesh Yadav.

Pitch and conditions

The Adelaide Oval pitch is usually viewed as a batsman's paradise, but often there is something in it for the fast bowlers early on the first day. "It will always produce spin later on as the game goes," the curator Damien Hough said. "Normally there will be a little bit of inconsistent bounce on days four and five, so I wouldn't expect anything else."

The forecast for the match is hot and sunny for all five days, with temperatures expected to hit 37C on the first day.

Stats and trivia

  • Virender Sehwag has captained India in three previous Tests, for two victories and a draw
  • Ricky Ponting needs 81 runs to reach 13,000 in Test cricket
  • Should Australia win, it will be their first series whitewash against India since 1999-2000
  • Australia have won just one of the past four Adelaide Tests


"Anything less than a 4-0 defeat of this powerful Indian team will be a disappointment to all of us."
Michael Clarke

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    so sorrycome india, nothing going good for india, unfit and out of form batsmen have become major cause of india's expected 4-0 whitewash.

  • Musafir on January 24, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    Ref: my first post. about Gav. it was made in India :) as usual with the help of Umpires other wise Gav. would had taken more 100 ODI's to get to his hundred.

    People are picking those fellows who are outside this team. so do they think that if they would been the part of team India can be saved. Fool's dream i think :)

  • Musafir on January 24, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    Go sachin Go. we want your 100th Century. even it takes 1000 match to do so . heheheheheheheheheheh

    Same happened with Gavasker when he failed to make century in ODIs till the 107th ODI against NZ

    what the losers..........................

  • mohamed on January 24, 2012, 5:56 GMT

    wished rohit sharma make it to playing eleven.Dont know y management is sticking to great guns rather than playing guys who are in form.May be they want to white wash 4-nil......i will be surprised if india can pull of a draw.

  • Dummy4 on January 24, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    I wonder what type of betting is on: India lose by an innings or not? Losing the match is guaranteed. Whether it is an innings defeat or not is something to watch for. Our over rated batsmen were doing rigorous practice before start of 4th test which they didn't do from the beginning. I don't know why?

  • Dummy4 on January 23, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    Fingers crossed for 3 miracles to happen: "Sachin makes 100, Dravid does not get bowled out and Laxman does not get surprised on getting out"

  • sridhar on January 23, 2012, 22:54 GMT

    people should stop about 100th 100 of sachin...

  • Dummy4 on January 23, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    It's last chance for India to defend themselves from another humiliating defeat. Winning or losing never bothered to me, it's the fighting spirit and killer instinct which was missing in both the series. It was ordinary eleven individual playing rather 1 united team. Anywayz, IMO this should be with batting order n playing 11: Gambhir,Dravid,Kohli,Sachin,Sehwag,Rohit,Ashwin,Saha,Zaheer,Ojha,Yadav. Best of luck to Team India!

  • Raminder on January 23, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    I made a promise to myself that I will not be watching any cricket for this series. It is so one sided and just waist of time for someone who enjoys a fight between the bat and ball.

  • Dummy4 on January 23, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    What did ishanth Sharma do in last 7 bowling friendly pitches to find a regular place..15 wickets in 7 games without impacting single spell or innings.. There are far better players in domestic who have expreience.. Underrated bowler with no variations.. You cannot survive with no variations.. He seems to have just one delivery that comes in to right handers.. So pity .. give Mithun/Ojha a chance..just for a change and give them a chance to prove..

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