Australia to win Head-to-Head @ $1.42
India pulled off the unlikeliest of unlikely draws at the hands of none other than Pujara and Pant who repeated their previous SCG success’s, along with Vihari and Ashwin who successfully faced an awe-inspiring 48 overs between them for only 62 runs.
The Indian’s showed grit and determination that could have never been imagined after their dismal loss in the first test, with Australian captain Tim Paine admitting that he “let the pressure of the game get to” him.
With no disrespect to India though, if Australia had of repeated their first innings success in the field and not returned to their MCG fielding form, then the result could have been very different.
However, not all was despair and disappointment for the home team, with Australia breaking the shackles and having a centurion against India for the first time since 2017, thanks to Steve Smith who looks to be back at his Bradman-esque best.
Although Pucovski and Warner only managed 90 runs between them in all 4 innings, Pucovski’s 62 in the first innings of the match created a strong foundation that Australia had been lacking in Adelaide and the MCG. Young gun Cameron Green also impressed greatly on day 4 with an impressive 84.
The Australian cricket team simply loves the Gabba, whilst India simply hates it. Out of the 6 matches played between these two sides in Brisbane, Australia has won 5 of them, with the 6th game being a draw in 2003 that saw 10 hours of play lost to the rain.
Known as Fortress, the Gabba has not seen a green and gold loss in 32 years, which the Australian’s will look to extend.
To add further impressiveness, Warner, Smith and Labuschagne average a dominant 263 runs at the ground between them. The Gabba is also Pat Cummins favourite ground in Australia averaging 15 with the ball in hand, along with a strike rate of 36, proving Australia’s love affair with the Gabba has only strengthened in recent years.
Tropical weather is expected for the Brisbane test with a 50% chance of rain on 4 of the 5 days of this test. With only minimal rainfall expected, extra overs bowled in the mornings and afternoons may be able to get around the issue. However, if the rain does persist this will heavily favour the Indians.
Australia’s fielding will be a key determinant in the outcome of the match as the Aussies have either overperformed in the field (SCG 1st innings) or severely underperformed (MCG and SCG 2nd innings). Along with this Australia will hope Warner and Pucovski are fit in order to steady the ship at the top of the order.
Although Australia finally generated a centurion against India again, they have become too reliant on Steve Smith producing the goods. Out of the last 9 Australian centuries against India since 2014, Smith has had 7 of those, with only Warner and Maxwell being the other centurions.
Despite India’s fight in Sydney, I like Australia here. Their record at the Gabba is too strong, and something would seriously need to go wrong for Australia to lose this game. If rain persists, I could see India holding onto the draw, as this will retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy for them, especially after the confidence they obtained at the SCG. However, with injuries to Jadeja, Bumrah, Ashwin and Vihari, even if they are able to make it on the field, I think the task will be too great for India to win only their second series ever on Australian soil.
Australia to win the Toss @ $1.87
Ajinkya Rahane’s legs will be trembling as he walks to the centre of the ground for the toss on Friday, as his record as captain for India now sits at a measly 2 wins from 9 tosses of the coin.
Also, with him struggling to fire with the bat, scoring 26 runs from both innings last test, this will work in favour of Tim Paine, as Rahane is expected to focus much more of his time on his batting rather than his toss calling skills.
Last week’s statement still rings true as well – “If you want some extra value, consider putting this in a multi with Australia to win the test match. Despite last week’s Boxing Day nightmare, Australia haven’t won the toss and then lost the match in a home Test, since their 7 run defeat against New Zealand in 2011.”