Michael Jeh October 5, 2008

Advantage India

Will India be comfortable with being the team that has to now make the running instead of reacting to it
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Finally, a look at what Australia’s world will look like after Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist. All three men were ‘once-in-a-generation’ players. Australia were indeed blessed to have them all playing together. Especially when you add the other great names of that period.

That golden era is about to end I’m afraid. The two alpha predators of the jungle are about to face off and that aura of invincibility is no longer the birthright of the next generation of players to don the famous baggy green. Don’t get me wrong – they will be competitive of course and they will probably win more matches than they lose. But they will need to change their hunting style to suit their strengths. There will be change.

The biggest change we’re likely to see is a more defensive and more pragmatic approach in the field. Australia used to pride itself on entering every single Test match with the sole intention of winning it. Playing for the draw was the fallback position, employed as a last resort when every avenue of winning had been exhausted. It was this sort of attitude, combined with a powerful talent pool that revolutionised modern cricket. The only teams that occasionally beat Australia during this period were the ones prepared to adopt similar tactics. England’s Ashes triumph in 2005 was the blueprint that other teams will now need to follow.

South Africa – for some inexplicable reason, they went into each series against Australia with a plan to first secure a safe position and then press on for a win if the opportunity presented itself. Against the top predator, such timidity rarely brought rewards. In very simplistic National Geographic terms, the Aussies were like a pride of lions, taking on prey head-on and making big kills. The rewards were worth the odd botched hunt. The South Africans reminded me of hyenas, highly efficient and tireless, nipping away at the heels, waiting for a moment of weakness and then darting in for a slow kill if the opportunity presented itself.

In India next week, I suspect that analogy will no longer apply. With arguably one of the weakest spin attacks in world cricket at the moment, Australia will no longer have the luxury of attack, attack, attack. Ponting will be forced to employ defensive fields with sweepers in place from the outset. It will be fascinating to see how the team reacts to this new philosophy and to see if affects their natural aggression in the field. It’s going to be a lot harder to mentally dominate the inner-circle when half the fielders are in the deep and someone like Sehwag or Tendulkar are in full flow on home pitches.

It is this facet of the game that will provide some riveting viewing. It will give Australia a glimpse of what the next decade is going to be like until they find another Warne or McGrath. They have been so used to dominating the opposition and creating an aura around the crease which resulted in a ‘bubble’ that simultaneously hypnotised and intimidated. The combined pressure of accurate bowling, great catching and constant ‘chat’ around the bat was a powerful cocktail that had a crippling effect. It’s a lot harder to sustain that pressure in searing Indian heat with the score on 4-320, four fielders in the deep, no close-in catcher and a passionate home crowd egging Tendulkar on with Jason Krezja and Cameron White bowling in tandem.

The Australian batting still looks deep enough to match India’s class but will their psyche be affected by the knowledge that the bowlers don’t have the firepower? It’s easy to bat freely and aggressively when you know you’ve got 700+ Test wickets in the bowling arsenal. The current attack, Brett Lee apart, looks decidedly vulnerable to a blistering counter-attack from someone like Sehwag or Dhoni. Or liable to be worn down by a Dravid epic.

The big question of course is whether India will be comfortable with being the team that has to now make the running instead of reacting to it. Will that affect their mindset? If Australia sense that India are not quite ready to storm the fortress, they might just live to fight another day. Like any lion pride, there comes a moment when the challenger senses a genuine opportunity and this may be one such moment in history. That moment will arrive when the Aussie spinners come on to bowl – India’s reaction will tell us all if they are lions or hyenas.

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • eddy on October 13, 2008, 9:51 GMT

    What has happened to the little master? As Lord Sachin Tendulkar scraps and crawls his way to 11953 (Lara's record) he now finds himself in his 2nd worst run of results in his career. In the injury hit year 12 months starting December 2005 to December 2006, Tendulkar played only a hand full of innings. He went 13 innings without a Test match 50. Since his up-down tour of Aus earlier this year and his poor performances against Sri Lankan that followed he has played 12 innings without a 50.

    Is the record on his mind or is this the beginning of the end of the greatest allround international( Test & ODI) batsman of this age?

  • waterbuffalo on October 11, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    I am afraid you overestimate the Indian batting lineup which is aged, stale and over praised. When India has a new batting lineup and boling lineup then there will be a challenge, Harbhajan and Kumble? Please, they are dinosaurs who have not been challenged enough for their places in the team. Same goes for Sachin and Dravid and Laxman..Dinosaurs , all of them. Their time is past. Seems to me , India is the oldest team in World Cricket. And Dhoni is the classic example of a One Day Player who cannot play Test Cricket to save his life. India is going backwards, not looking forwards.

  • Sudhir on October 8, 2008, 9:03 GMT

    I would go as far as to say that it is advantage to india - kumble and harbhajan were ineffective against sri lanka, on pitches where two other spinners totally dominated them.

    dont forget how underrated michael clark is as a spinner - winning a match for australia in austraila in the last over.

    advantage definitely NOT india- who could not beat south africa at home

  • ajay Pratap Singh on October 7, 2008, 7:09 GMT

    No doubt this series is between the two teams who are going to decline day by day. Both teams having players who have cross their 34 and most importantly they used to be world beaters in their own terms. It is almost certain that after this series a generation of the cricketers is going to change. Undoubtedly it is the last series where some of the finest players all time are going to fight for their place in the history of cricket. Both teams having their own weaknesses. I think Aus is most hampered by the absence of Symond which could be useful not only as a batsman but as a spinner also.I personally think it was only Saymond who denies India a series Victory in last series.Indian batting which looks formidable at the papers having their own problems. Sachin Tendulker don’t have any match practice before test match and he is returning from injury. It may make lot of impact on the fortune of the series.Ganguly is not at his peak as well as Dravid.It is going to be a tough seies.

  • Ajay Pratap Singh on October 7, 2008, 6:35 GMT

    So the fight of the pride has started again between new but not young Aus and a team lead by a 38 year old lion that is not at his prime with the company of fab four. Definitely this time Australia is not as formidable as they were in earlier series but I think they are going to fight hard. It is going to be a battle between Experience Indian bowling attack and Aus fresh bowing attack. India has vastly experience spin combination of Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble whereas Aus spin attack with Jason Krejza and Cameron White looks quite novice. In pace department I think Aus have upper hand with Brat Lee, Michel Jonshon and Clark even none having any experience on Indian soil. With Jaheer Khan,Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel India attack also looks quite decent but as a whole Aussies having batter variety. I think the result of the series will depend on the performance of some key players from both side like Hyden,Hussey,sachin,sehwag and most importantly Kumble and Hurbhajan.

  • KJH on October 7, 2008, 0:53 GMT

    This will be a close and exciting series resulting in a very narrow win for Ind, or a draw. Enough talk of batting. Outside of Sehwag, India is struggling. Their middle order is no longer feared, Gambhir looks promising, but Dhoni hasn't really stood up in tests as yet. I still feel Aus have the better batting line up, even with Pontings injury/troubles & Haydos injury. This series will be decided by the bowlers and that is very exciting. India have great talent in their pace bowlers (I hope Sharma is back to full fitness) and Singh always bowls well against us. But even without a spinner Aus have a great attack. Clarks record after 18 matches is better than McGraths (which was excellent) and he showed again during the warm-up how good he is. Johnson looks to be coming into form, and Lee is the premiere fast bowler in modern cricket. This attack is as good if not better than the 04/05 attack of mcgrath/kasper/gillespie. If only Warne would come out of retirement.

  • vijay padmanabhan on October 6, 2008, 16:46 GMT

    Well i kinda hate to make series predictions against australia, going by the paper form, india think they start as clear favourites but the form of Australians against board president's cant be used as a benchmark. As eevry cricket fan knows,aussies revel in big match situations.They were trashed in Newzealand before the world cup but thrased everyone to win the world cup. Let the game begin and let the focus be on cricket alone this time

  • Aussie Din ks on October 6, 2008, 7:17 GMT

    England did not make a blue print it is the Media again hyping everything up to extremes. They won one Ashes and all of a sudden they are world beaters and just recently they managed to win their one dayer's against South Africa so of course they are the team to be reckoned with. Of course the author along with the Brits actually forgot that they actually lost the test match to South Africa playing in England. Give it a rest please until after you have played India in India and then we will see just how delusional you people really are.

  • Sillypoint on October 6, 2008, 4:09 GMT

    If England made the Blueprint to beat the Aussies then why the English got thrashed in the following Ashes in Australia. Did they forget to take it or lost on the way? Nobody can make any blueprint for beating anyone. It all depends on the team composition, fire and zeal that determine any series. Having said that this is going to be a close series, I predict India to win 2-1.

  • Kalyan on October 6, 2008, 3:57 GMT

    It must be remembered that while England beat Australia only once in 2005 at home, India defeated Australia in 1996, 1998, 2001 and gave them a bloody nose in 2003, 2004 and 2007. This includes wins in Australia and that too Perth where no one gave them any hope given the mental pressure and controversies. To come back from that to win has already proven that they are real lions irrespective of the result of the current series. They certainly do not need a blueprint from England especially considering that India beat England in England as well.

  • eddy on October 13, 2008, 9:51 GMT

    What has happened to the little master? As Lord Sachin Tendulkar scraps and crawls his way to 11953 (Lara's record) he now finds himself in his 2nd worst run of results in his career. In the injury hit year 12 months starting December 2005 to December 2006, Tendulkar played only a hand full of innings. He went 13 innings without a Test match 50. Since his up-down tour of Aus earlier this year and his poor performances against Sri Lankan that followed he has played 12 innings without a 50.

    Is the record on his mind or is this the beginning of the end of the greatest allround international( Test & ODI) batsman of this age?

  • waterbuffalo on October 11, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    I am afraid you overestimate the Indian batting lineup which is aged, stale and over praised. When India has a new batting lineup and boling lineup then there will be a challenge, Harbhajan and Kumble? Please, they are dinosaurs who have not been challenged enough for their places in the team. Same goes for Sachin and Dravid and Laxman..Dinosaurs , all of them. Their time is past. Seems to me , India is the oldest team in World Cricket. And Dhoni is the classic example of a One Day Player who cannot play Test Cricket to save his life. India is going backwards, not looking forwards.

  • Sudhir on October 8, 2008, 9:03 GMT

    I would go as far as to say that it is advantage to india - kumble and harbhajan were ineffective against sri lanka, on pitches where two other spinners totally dominated them.

    dont forget how underrated michael clark is as a spinner - winning a match for australia in austraila in the last over.

    advantage definitely NOT india- who could not beat south africa at home

  • ajay Pratap Singh on October 7, 2008, 7:09 GMT

    No doubt this series is between the two teams who are going to decline day by day. Both teams having players who have cross their 34 and most importantly they used to be world beaters in their own terms. It is almost certain that after this series a generation of the cricketers is going to change. Undoubtedly it is the last series where some of the finest players all time are going to fight for their place in the history of cricket. Both teams having their own weaknesses. I think Aus is most hampered by the absence of Symond which could be useful not only as a batsman but as a spinner also.I personally think it was only Saymond who denies India a series Victory in last series.Indian batting which looks formidable at the papers having their own problems. Sachin Tendulker don’t have any match practice before test match and he is returning from injury. It may make lot of impact on the fortune of the series.Ganguly is not at his peak as well as Dravid.It is going to be a tough seies.

  • Ajay Pratap Singh on October 7, 2008, 6:35 GMT

    So the fight of the pride has started again between new but not young Aus and a team lead by a 38 year old lion that is not at his prime with the company of fab four. Definitely this time Australia is not as formidable as they were in earlier series but I think they are going to fight hard. It is going to be a battle between Experience Indian bowling attack and Aus fresh bowing attack. India has vastly experience spin combination of Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble whereas Aus spin attack with Jason Krejza and Cameron White looks quite novice. In pace department I think Aus have upper hand with Brat Lee, Michel Jonshon and Clark even none having any experience on Indian soil. With Jaheer Khan,Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel India attack also looks quite decent but as a whole Aussies having batter variety. I think the result of the series will depend on the performance of some key players from both side like Hyden,Hussey,sachin,sehwag and most importantly Kumble and Hurbhajan.

  • KJH on October 7, 2008, 0:53 GMT

    This will be a close and exciting series resulting in a very narrow win for Ind, or a draw. Enough talk of batting. Outside of Sehwag, India is struggling. Their middle order is no longer feared, Gambhir looks promising, but Dhoni hasn't really stood up in tests as yet. I still feel Aus have the better batting line up, even with Pontings injury/troubles & Haydos injury. This series will be decided by the bowlers and that is very exciting. India have great talent in their pace bowlers (I hope Sharma is back to full fitness) and Singh always bowls well against us. But even without a spinner Aus have a great attack. Clarks record after 18 matches is better than McGraths (which was excellent) and he showed again during the warm-up how good he is. Johnson looks to be coming into form, and Lee is the premiere fast bowler in modern cricket. This attack is as good if not better than the 04/05 attack of mcgrath/kasper/gillespie. If only Warne would come out of retirement.

  • vijay padmanabhan on October 6, 2008, 16:46 GMT

    Well i kinda hate to make series predictions against australia, going by the paper form, india think they start as clear favourites but the form of Australians against board president's cant be used as a benchmark. As eevry cricket fan knows,aussies revel in big match situations.They were trashed in Newzealand before the world cup but thrased everyone to win the world cup. Let the game begin and let the focus be on cricket alone this time

  • Aussie Din ks on October 6, 2008, 7:17 GMT

    England did not make a blue print it is the Media again hyping everything up to extremes. They won one Ashes and all of a sudden they are world beaters and just recently they managed to win their one dayer's against South Africa so of course they are the team to be reckoned with. Of course the author along with the Brits actually forgot that they actually lost the test match to South Africa playing in England. Give it a rest please until after you have played India in India and then we will see just how delusional you people really are.

  • Sillypoint on October 6, 2008, 4:09 GMT

    If England made the Blueprint to beat the Aussies then why the English got thrashed in the following Ashes in Australia. Did they forget to take it or lost on the way? Nobody can make any blueprint for beating anyone. It all depends on the team composition, fire and zeal that determine any series. Having said that this is going to be a close series, I predict India to win 2-1.

  • Kalyan on October 6, 2008, 3:57 GMT

    It must be remembered that while England beat Australia only once in 2005 at home, India defeated Australia in 1996, 1998, 2001 and gave them a bloody nose in 2003, 2004 and 2007. This includes wins in Australia and that too Perth where no one gave them any hope given the mental pressure and controversies. To come back from that to win has already proven that they are real lions irrespective of the result of the current series. They certainly do not need a blueprint from England especially considering that India beat England in England as well.

  • ravi kumar on October 6, 2008, 3:56 GMT

    I think India Will win the series against Autralia this time by 2-1 Margin, with the test match at bangalore maybe a draw.India Will Win at Delhi & Mohali with the pitch favouring Indian Batsman And Australia will win at Nagpur as they did last time when they toured in 2004.I am sure India are the favouites to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The Last two test series between the two countries was also close with the Chennai Test in 2004 was washed out on the final day, and India required only 205 runs to win on the final day, and again in Sydney 2007-08 series India were on top reducing Australia to 134 for 6 , only umpires denied India a vicotry in Sydney.. So I think India will seek its revenge for the loss they suffered in Australia and will win the series.

  • Sha on October 6, 2008, 2:32 GMT

    Will defintely be a tough and well consented series... It'll be a great indicator to see where Australia are as a world force... this series followed by South Africa and England, and how about Australia vs Mendis/Murali... on paper, doesn't look like this team will continue the reign of their predecessors but will definitely fight hard. As for India, there also a team entering a new era and as for comments above; Mr Shah, "Indians have never had problems facing pace bowling. Take last three test matches in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide, Indians scored heavily." None of those pitches were "fast pitches" and as for India's vows against fast bowling, they are well documented. A few months ago India were the best-players of spin and if they had no problems with pace, I wonder why the Aussie's were ruling the roost for the past decade and a half. No doubt, the world is up for grabs... SA, Eng, Aus, SL and Ind all have a chance to claim it!

  • Aussie Din ks on October 6, 2008, 0:16 GMT

    I think this is going to be a great game very evenly matched at the moment. I just can't wait till it starts. But as for the next number one team I think it will be neither Oz or India but some one like maybe Sri Lanka or South Africa.

  • Dhrubaditya Mitra on October 5, 2008, 22:03 GMT

    This article has been written by someone totally ignorant of history. The blueprint of defeating the aussies was not done by the english in the ashes series, but by the Indians in 2001. This selective memory just shows a typical anglophilic view of cricket. That was the australian team at its prime, and they lost the series in India. The famous Warne was thrashed all over the park by Tendulkar. Next India spoiled Steve Waughs farewell party for him in Australia. The 2005 ashes defeat happened later. And the Australians also got their revenge by defeating England 5-0 in the next series.

    This series may actually be at a time when both the teams go through a lean patch and we may just see low quality cricket.

  • sudeep das on October 5, 2008, 20:41 GMT

    Michael, it's unfortunate that you do not mention India as the only team to look in the eyes of the Australians throughout the past decade. You mention England of 2005 (the only time they got ir right), you analyze the South Africans (their timidity in front of the Aussies) but no word about the Indians who have constantly challenged them at home and away. Why this jaundiced vision? Do you think the Indians are an over-rated talentless bunch?

  • Justin on October 5, 2008, 19:55 GMT

    True the aussies aren't what they use to be...but having said that...looking around at the rest of the teams in the world...they are looking particualrly weak. India, through the very fact that they have such an old team and sri lanka are the only teams that look any sort of match. India however are still relying on the same players that have failed time and time again against australia in australia...to WIN a series...thus when they leave I can hardly see them ever winning in Australia. it is only when Australia is beaten at home in a series that you can truly say the golden era is over.

  • sa on October 5, 2008, 18:50 GMT

    India may seem to be in the drivers seat , but if the media goes crazy over the performance or lack of it from the fab four , this could well turn into an aussie victory.

  • Amirali on October 5, 2008, 18:27 GMT

    Michael Jeh....Sir this is one of the most brilliantly written articles regarding the upcoming series i have read so far....

  • B Singh on October 5, 2008, 17:47 GMT

    This series will be a great series and one of the best in recent times. But my bets are that india will absolutely trounce australia and will whitewash them. We might be saying that the fab four are near retirement which is true and also could be one reason why they might really want to play at their best in this series. I personally think even the BPXI could of beaten australia in a four match test series. And i would like to reply to 'SATTIPANDU' who said both teams will be tested against England. Mate, apart from New Zealand, when was the last time they won a test series? And why does everyone make out that Freddi is like unplayable? Comes December and India will trounce England too and your freddie wont know whats hit him when Sehwag smashes him around the park!!

  • Amarta on October 5, 2008, 17:35 GMT

    That was very well put Michael. The analogy was spot on. Aussie spin attack in next to nil this time and they would need to find someone soon to utilise the indian conditions.Remember even Shane Warne failed against the Indian fav four.Also the Aussie pace attack in nowhere near their previous attacks- mcgrath, gillespie, kasper.For these bowlers to succeed the key is patience in indian conditions which i dont think anyone else has apart from bret lee.

  • Pratik Shah on October 5, 2008, 17:32 GMT

    Rusty, I agree. Clark's comparisons to McGrath are not unfounded.

    Roger, I think India's attitude in Australia gave us the answer. They were there to win. And I think they will be going into this series to win as well. The team is not as conservative as it was under Dravid (his decision to draw the 3rd Test in England instead of pressing for a 2-0 series win was awful), but I am Kumble is a bit conservative too. I wish Dhoni was captain (and Ganguly, Kumble and Harbhajan did not have an automatic slot in the team), but I guess I can't have everything.

    This is going to be one hell of a series though. Let's just hope for good weather, good pitches and no poor decisions.

  • Aussie fanatic on October 5, 2008, 15:53 GMT

    Um, how many times have we heard that the era has finished. The era finished 2 years ago when Warne and McGrath retired. Australia can win the series, Johnson will be the wildcard, i feel his time has come, Watson is in the same boat.

    The pressure is on India, their hotshot batting lineup is going to have to stand up when the pressure is on. We have seen how India go when expectations are high (refer to 2007 WC). India prefer to be underdogs, this time they are the favourites. Lets see how they like the blowtoruch.

  • P SRINIVASAN on October 5, 2008, 14:06 GMT

    Hi you may be correct that the Aussies are no more intimidating and will have to go on the defensive right from the start to cut down the flow of runs. Spare a thought - India may be in the same position in the very near future when the fab four alongwith Kumble retire. OK may be the spin cupboard will not be bare till Harbhajan plays with Piyush Chawla,Amit Mishra & Ojha waiting in the wings. Lets see how Sehwag plays without the cushioning provided by the fab four middle order - Sehwag, Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Badrinath,Yuvaraj,Virat Kohli, Dhoni, Harbhajan, Chawla,Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan or Munaf Patel - this could be a scenario when India play the Aussies next time. Same way Aussies will be further vulnerable when Haydos,Ricky and Hussey retire. One thing you have to appreciate is the Aussies have remained on top for almost 15 years with finding the right player at the right time putting up his hand under pressure.Never under estimate them. Ricky could have a swansong series

  • Kutch on October 5, 2008, 14:01 GMT

    Does either team have enough bowling arsenal to take 20 wickets consistently?

  • Pulkit Shah on October 5, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    I tend to think the after coping a lot of criticism, India's fab five, if you like, will win the series for India. Ponting has a genuine problem against off-spin that can't be rectified in a fortnight's time. He'll also have Ishant Sharma troubling him early on. I dont see Australia consistently scoring in excess of 450+ and bowling India out twice.

    Remember, India only fell to Sri-Lanka in spin department. Murli and Mendis were almost unplayable in home conditions. Indians have never had problems facing pace bowling. Take last three test matches in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide, Indians scored heavily.

    I think Australians will strugle to post a test win on Indian soil this time around. Last time they had McGrath, Warne, Gillespie and Kasper and Indians were missing Sachin and Saurav and Aussies "just" won the series.

    After all the hype, first day of the series will set the tone.

  • Pulkit Shah on October 5, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    I tend to think the after coping a lot of criticism, India's fab five, if you like, will win the series for India. Ponting has a genuine problem against off-spin that can't be rectified in a fortnight's time. He'll also have Ishant Sharma troubling him early on. I dont see Australia consistently scoring in excess of 450+ and bowling India out twice.

    Remember, India only fell to Sri-Lanka in spin department. Murli and Mendis were almost unplayable in home conditions. Indians have never had problems facing pace bowling. Take last three test matches in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide, Indians scored heavily.

    I think Australians will strugle to post a test win on Indian soil this time around. Last time they had McGrath, Warne, Gillespie and Kasper and Indians were missing Sachin and Saurav and Aussies "just" won the series.

    After all the hype, first day of the series will set the tone.

  • bhavesh on October 5, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    in the last decade when austraila lose a series the opposition attack austraila for example the ashes, the 2001 india and austraila series if you defend angainst austraila you will get thrashes like the whitewash ashes where none of the england bowlers attaked

  • Sabbir Mahmood on October 5, 2008, 13:16 GMT

    Certainly without Gilchrist Australia is going to loose a januine match winner.And obiviously without Warne it looks like that Bangladesh have better spin attack compare to Australia;and probably the biggest handicap of Australia.As long as McGrath concerns he has never done well against India in India any particuluar test match sofar;so it wount be a big thing for them.Finally if Australia can play with their best ability they can make it really close.pls dont write off them.On the otherhand Indian seniors r getting too old;and thats the only minus point.India will make big mistake if the pitch is flat like it happened when Pakistan tour last time;I mean they will get time to settle down against Kumble and Harbajan if the ball does n't trun . hope it would be a good series.

  • sattipandu on October 5, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    i think both teams r struggling at the moment. England with its great pace attack is beautifully poised to take over the cricketing world. The real test for both the teams will be when they face up to likes of fred,harmy and KP soon.

  • Rusty on October 5, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    I watched the practice match today (via cric-info) & watched as over afer over passed - Krejza spanked - Siddle smashed, thinking to myself, when is Ponting going to bring on Clark? A short while later he did & the same thing happened that always does - Clark troubled the batsmen & got the wickets.... am I the only one that thinks clark is one of the most under-rated bowlers going around?

  • Sundaram Subramanian on October 5, 2008, 12:19 GMT

    This will be a hard fought series. If the Indian batting greats can help India put up a score in excess of 500 in the first innings of every test match, India will beat Australia. However Ricky the Great Punter is due for some big scores in India. He is definitely as good as Sachin in his prime days and Punter's performance will be the difference between the two teams.

  • roger@1stSlip on October 5, 2008, 10:43 GMT

    Article was good to read thanks Michael. The key point/question arising is the one in your final paragraph of "whether India can step up to the plate to force the issue with Australia". It's true that the Aussie team is changing and this presents an opportunity for India. However the real acid-test question is whether India have the necessary mind-set and force to make the psychological as well as physical running to overwhelm the visitors. They are not helped by the fact that several of their players are nearing retirement and are presently playing below their historical standard.

  • Ramana Kumar on October 5, 2008, 9:25 GMT

    Its true that the Australians cannot dominate the way they used to. But then the great Indian batsmen are no longer the force they were. Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman are not the same batsmen of 3 or 4 years ago. So will it be a battle between two teams in transition/decline ? Will the winner be decided by which team's weaknesses come to the forefront ? Do the Indian greats have that vitality left for that last hurrah ? Or will the Australian team start a new chapter of dominance ? Perhaps there will be no grand declarations to be made at the end of the series. The final result may well be a tensely fought drawn series.

  • David Barry on October 5, 2008, 8:40 GMT

    It's worth pointing out that under Gilchrist in 2004, Australia won in India by playing conservatively - fielders on the boundary from the outset, etc.

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  • David Barry on October 5, 2008, 8:40 GMT

    It's worth pointing out that under Gilchrist in 2004, Australia won in India by playing conservatively - fielders on the boundary from the outset, etc.

  • Ramana Kumar on October 5, 2008, 9:25 GMT

    Its true that the Australians cannot dominate the way they used to. But then the great Indian batsmen are no longer the force they were. Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman are not the same batsmen of 3 or 4 years ago. So will it be a battle between two teams in transition/decline ? Will the winner be decided by which team's weaknesses come to the forefront ? Do the Indian greats have that vitality left for that last hurrah ? Or will the Australian team start a new chapter of dominance ? Perhaps there will be no grand declarations to be made at the end of the series. The final result may well be a tensely fought drawn series.

  • roger@1stSlip on October 5, 2008, 10:43 GMT

    Article was good to read thanks Michael. The key point/question arising is the one in your final paragraph of "whether India can step up to the plate to force the issue with Australia". It's true that the Aussie team is changing and this presents an opportunity for India. However the real acid-test question is whether India have the necessary mind-set and force to make the psychological as well as physical running to overwhelm the visitors. They are not helped by the fact that several of their players are nearing retirement and are presently playing below their historical standard.

  • Sundaram Subramanian on October 5, 2008, 12:19 GMT

    This will be a hard fought series. If the Indian batting greats can help India put up a score in excess of 500 in the first innings of every test match, India will beat Australia. However Ricky the Great Punter is due for some big scores in India. He is definitely as good as Sachin in his prime days and Punter's performance will be the difference between the two teams.

  • Rusty on October 5, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    I watched the practice match today (via cric-info) & watched as over afer over passed - Krejza spanked - Siddle smashed, thinking to myself, when is Ponting going to bring on Clark? A short while later he did & the same thing happened that always does - Clark troubled the batsmen & got the wickets.... am I the only one that thinks clark is one of the most under-rated bowlers going around?

  • sattipandu on October 5, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    i think both teams r struggling at the moment. England with its great pace attack is beautifully poised to take over the cricketing world. The real test for both the teams will be when they face up to likes of fred,harmy and KP soon.

  • Sabbir Mahmood on October 5, 2008, 13:16 GMT

    Certainly without Gilchrist Australia is going to loose a januine match winner.And obiviously without Warne it looks like that Bangladesh have better spin attack compare to Australia;and probably the biggest handicap of Australia.As long as McGrath concerns he has never done well against India in India any particuluar test match sofar;so it wount be a big thing for them.Finally if Australia can play with their best ability they can make it really close.pls dont write off them.On the otherhand Indian seniors r getting too old;and thats the only minus point.India will make big mistake if the pitch is flat like it happened when Pakistan tour last time;I mean they will get time to settle down against Kumble and Harbajan if the ball does n't trun . hope it would be a good series.

  • bhavesh on October 5, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    in the last decade when austraila lose a series the opposition attack austraila for example the ashes, the 2001 india and austraila series if you defend angainst austraila you will get thrashes like the whitewash ashes where none of the england bowlers attaked

  • Pulkit Shah on October 5, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    I tend to think the after coping a lot of criticism, India's fab five, if you like, will win the series for India. Ponting has a genuine problem against off-spin that can't be rectified in a fortnight's time. He'll also have Ishant Sharma troubling him early on. I dont see Australia consistently scoring in excess of 450+ and bowling India out twice.

    Remember, India only fell to Sri-Lanka in spin department. Murli and Mendis were almost unplayable in home conditions. Indians have never had problems facing pace bowling. Take last three test matches in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide, Indians scored heavily.

    I think Australians will strugle to post a test win on Indian soil this time around. Last time they had McGrath, Warne, Gillespie and Kasper and Indians were missing Sachin and Saurav and Aussies "just" won the series.

    After all the hype, first day of the series will set the tone.

  • Pulkit Shah on October 5, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    I tend to think the after coping a lot of criticism, India's fab five, if you like, will win the series for India. Ponting has a genuine problem against off-spin that can't be rectified in a fortnight's time. He'll also have Ishant Sharma troubling him early on. I dont see Australia consistently scoring in excess of 450+ and bowling India out twice.

    Remember, India only fell to Sri-Lanka in spin department. Murli and Mendis were almost unplayable in home conditions. Indians have never had problems facing pace bowling. Take last three test matches in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide, Indians scored heavily.

    I think Australians will strugle to post a test win on Indian soil this time around. Last time they had McGrath, Warne, Gillespie and Kasper and Indians were missing Sachin and Saurav and Aussies "just" won the series.

    After all the hype, first day of the series will set the tone.