Australia head into this best of 7 series as favourites to win the series as a whole and they are also the favourites to claim victory in the 1st game later today.
The Aussies are again the number 1 ranked team in the World and have just lifted the ICC Champions Trophy less than a month ago, they also have a number of players in their squad who have just been victorious with New South Wales in the Champions League Twenty20 which finished just a couple of days ago.
Will the lack of a rest have any influence on the players who took part in this tournament or will it just further drive them on as their confidence must be sky high after the last 6 weeks.
India have no great form to speak of and looked an average side in the Champions Trophy, this series will give them the chance to bounce back from their South African disaster and also to start to build for the next World Cup.
Rahul Dravid is gone again and this time it is likely to be for good, while Captain MS Dhoni can welcome back opener Virender Sehwag to strengthen the batting. India’s fielding let them down badly in South Africa and their bowling was heavily criticized by many including Dhoni with Ishant Sharma badly out of sorts.
Sharma has been named in the squad for the first 2 games and if he gets a chance to perform he will need to take it as his performances haven’t been up to scratch lately and you would have to envisage that the Indian selectors would be running out of patience with him by now. India also have a doubt over Yuvraj and he is not likely to be risked in this first game.
For the Aussies they have Brett Lee firing on all cylinders and he has just stared with a match winning performance at the Champions League Twenty20 with the bat, his 48 from 31 balls and 2 wickets also, won him the man of the match award, and for good measure he picked up the man of the series award as well.
They have drafted Shaun Marsh and spinner Jon Holland into the squad for this series with Marsh likely to get a start in this first game, Nathan Bracken, Michael Clarke and keeper Brad Haddin are still out injured – although you wouldn’t have noticed – and Callum Ferguson is also out with a nasty looking knee injury. Michael Clarke may join up with the squad during the tour if his back pain eases off.
Expect this to be a tight series with India having home advantage, still take the Aussies to win it as India’s form of late has been nothing better than average.
India – MS Dhoni (C & WK), G Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, R Jadeja, V Kohli, P Kumar, A Mishra, A Nehra, M Patel, S Raina, V Sehwag, I Sharma, S Tendulkar, S Tyagi, Yuvraj Singh
Australia – R Ponting (C), M Hussey, D Bollinger, N Hauritz, B Hilfenhaus, J Holland, J Hopes, M Johnson, B Lee, S Marsh, T Paine (WK), P Siddle, A Voges, S Watson, C White