One Day International Betting: India v Australia, Round Two
The first one day international between India and Australia produced a last over thriller and a fine advertisement for the fify over format. Andrew Hughes looks ahead to the second match of the series at Nagpur on Wednesday.
Venue and Conditions
The Vidarbha Cricket Stadium is a new venue for one-day internationals, although it has hosted a Test match between these two sides and six domestic games have been played there this year. There is not much data to go on, but it is worth noting that the recent NKP Salve Challenge Trophy was played on this ground and in four day-night matches, the team batting second came out on top three times. That suggests chasing under lights here is not a problem, possibly because of the dew that makes it hard for fielders and bowlers to grip the ball. During the final of that tournament India Blue were skittled out for 84 and the average first innings total was just 226 so can probably expect some assistance for the bowlers.
India will be pleased to see star batsman Yuvraj Singh return to the team after his finger injury with Virat Kohli the most likely player to step aside. Munaf Patel has been in good form domestically but Ishant Sharma and Asish Nehra did well in the first game at Vadodara and although Praveen Kumar was expensive, his belligerent 40 not out nearly won the game for India, so it would be harsh if he were dropped.
Australia, already without Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin and Nathan Bracken have further injury problems. James Hopes is definitely out with a hamstring problem and more significantly, both Brett Lee (elbow) and Mitchell Johnson (ankle strain) are facing late fitness tests. Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger would be the bowling replacements, with opening batsman Shaun Marsh another option, though if he does play, he is likely to be asked to bat down the order.
Australia had the first game sewn up until Praveen Kumar and Harbhajan Singh plundered some late runs and nearly snatched it. You could therefore argue that these teams are fairly closely matched and the injury problems for Australia, combined with the return of Yuvraj Singh could just give India the edge. The home side are currently [2.0] with the visitors on [1.98] but it is worth waiting to see whether Johnson and Lee are fit enough to play, because if they don't India's price could shorten significantly.
That said the Indians will need to raise their game, particularly in the batting department. Yet again, the star-studded line-up failed to sparkle and became bogged down in the middle overs, thanks to some excellent bowling from Lee and Peter Siddle. By contrast, Australia managed a solid team effort and it was only some dubious bowling tactics by Shane Watson that gave India a chance to get back into the game.
On paper, it might appear that we are spoilt for choice with the Indian line-up, but in reality, few of them are in form. The most consistent Indian batsman in recent times has been Gautam Gambhir and it was his innings of 68 that held the run-chase in Vadodara together. He is worth backing at [4.5] or better.
For Australia, the choice is harder. Ricky Ponting, Tim Paine, Michael Hussey and Cameron White were all amongst the runs in the first game and it is possible to make a case for all of them in the top batsman market. However, with Paine and White playing in India for the first time, it is probably better to side with experience and now that he has rediscovered his touch, you could do worse than back the run-hungry Michael Hussey at [5.0] or better.
Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar versus Tim Paine and Shane Watson. If this were tag team wrestling, we might have a close fight on our hands. But when it comes to cricket there is no contest in this battle of the openers. Back India in the 'Top Opening Partnership' market at [1.9] or better.