After an epic performance at the WACA, a second consecutive 4-0 whitewash is within India’s grasp as they strive for previously unheard of levels of incompetence. Having picked a useless fourth seamer ahead of their one decent bowler purely to slow the over rate down, they now have the chance to reap the rewards of that decision. MS Dhoni will be on the sidelines, cheering the boys on through two more failed attempts at reaching 300, presumably in flip-flops and with a beer in hand.
After a slow start to the summer, Australia have hit their straps and cruised to three consecutive massive victories. There may be a feeling around the camp that all they have to do is turn up at the Adelaide Oval – it’s more than India have done in the first three Tests for a start – but there’s still plenty of competition within the team. Assuming Shane Watson gets over Phil Mitchell’s recent arrest, he’ll eventually be back in the side, meaning that something will have to give. Shaun Marsh is the man most under pressure, averaging just 3.50 against India’s current shower, but Ed Cowan isn’t totally sure of his place yet. The flat Adelaide pitch, and even flatter opposition attack, will offer the best opportunity for both men to make a career-defining big score.
In terms of the bowling attack, Mitchell Starc is back to carrying the drinks while Nathan Lyon returns to play on a pitch he should know well, having laid it himself. Peter Siddle looked absolutely shattered at times at the WACA but has avoided being rested. With the Adelaide pitch fairly batsman-friendly it may be an interesting test of the Aussie attack. So far they’ve not really needed a fifth bowler, with India’s batsmen falling over themselves to get out, but they (Australia) may notice the absence of Shane Watson here. Expect to see an over or two more of golden boy David Warner’s filthy legspin and Mike Hussey’s filthy medium pace.
In a strange way, the suspension of MS Dhoni may help India. Not because Wriddhiman Saha, his replacement behind the stumps, is a massively better player or because the idea of Virender Sehwag as captain will strike fear into the hearts of the Aussies – we’ll be surprised if he can be fucked to go out and do the toss – but because sometimes a change in direction can make all the difference. India have become so used to losing on their past two tours that something new was obviously required. The selectors are clearly too scared to make changes – the batsmen won’t change at all, as if it’s just been bad luck that’s held them back over the last 14 away innings, and the bowling attack picks itself – so it’s been down to the ICC to shake things up.
The law of averages dictates that eventually India must be able to put together one decent innings. On the flattest pitch of the series, they might finally make a game of it.
Or they might embarrassingly be skittled out twice, while muttering about how good they are at home.
We actually got our prediction almost spot on for the last game in the series, which must have been caused by too much gin. Or possibly not enough. Either way, we’re going to go for broke on this one: Sachin to make his hundreth hundred. The resulting clamour will almost obscure the fact that Australia win by 163 runs, led by Brad Haddin’s fine 78* in the second innings. India to declare the series a ‘qualified success’.