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India vs Australia: Second Test Preview
Following their shock win against India in Pune, the Australians will be looking to repeat the trick when the sides next meet in Bangalore.
Can the Indians dust themselves down and get back on track or will the Australians secure yet another unlikely victory?
India vs Australia | 4 March – 8 March | M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore | India
To Win Match
India 9/10 | Draw 24/10 | Australia 11/4
The Indians will be seething after they were blown away on a rank turner by Steve O’Keefe and a fired up Australian XI. O’Keeffe returned match figures of 12-70 as only KL Rahul could manage a score greater than 50 for India in the match.
Looking ahead, I don’t think there will be any real changes to the side heading into Bangalore, despite last week’s below-par display. More, however, will be required from the batsmen with the likes of Karun Nair and Abhinav Mukund waiting in the wings.
That means that the pressure is on Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay to get the runs on the board or run the risk of being benched. Nair can’t be too far away from a spot in the side, with his monstrous 303* against England still fresh in the Indian supporters’ and selectors’ minds.
Even the usually indomitable Virat Kohli failed spectacularly with his lowest run return (13) in a home Test where he batted in both innings. The Indian captain is an absolute perfectionist and will be desperate to prove his detractors wrong with a big runs haul in Bangalore.
Bowling wise, India will need a much-improved performance – especially from their two premier spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Neither was particularly effective in restricting the Australian batsmen, as the visitor’s domination was underlined by Mitchell Starc’s 63-ball 61 in the first innings.
Australia were utterly dominant in their 333-run victory over India last week. Nathan Lyon and O’Keefe did all of the work in the blisteringly hot Pune sun with Starc and Josh Hazlewood only bowling 20 overs between them in the match.
Not only were the bowlers in great touch, Steve Smith was dazzling while Matt Renshaw proved his worth in pretty alien conditions. Thankfully for them, they’ve had a bit of time for the euphoria to wear off before refocusing and going again at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
There will be no changes to this side as Darren Lehmann looks to reward the players who handed India their first defeat in a very long time. What I don’t see happening, however, is the Australians repeating the feat in Bangalore. The stadium will be abuzz with close to 30 000 fans expected to pack into the venue for the first day.
I think the Australians will be secretly hoping that the rain forecast for the region over the next few days plays a part. If Lehmann and his men can get out of Bangalore with a 1-0 series lead, they will be confident that they can come away from the four-match series with a 1-1 draw at the very least.
Verdict: India 9/10
India should be backed here on their price alone. The fact that you can get the Asians at 9/10 after one defeat is just insane. I’d get in here with a fairly modest stake, keeping in mind there could be a bit of rain about. Don’t expect the Indians to roll over on a ground where they haven’t lost since 2004.
Value Bet: A hundred to be scored in the match: No 4/1
This looks as though it could be a really smart bet for the weekend. With the amount of rain around, we could see batsman forced from the field at regular intervals, not allowing them to settle. This, combined with the already difficult batting conditions, makes this 4/1 price look even more tempting than the straight Indian win.