For those small n umber of cricket buffs who frequent SDMB. :):eek:
The heavyweight clash in world cricket at the moment is underway in the subcontinent.
The tour of India is a difficult gig with most of the cards heavily favouring the home side.
Firstly the Indians are a crack batting outfit and a pretty handy bowling outfit, especially in their home conditions.
In a time where T20 cricket conditions batsmen to think in terms of runs scored per ball faced, in India the mind game is in terms of runs scored per hour batted.
Recently England had the horror result of scoring over 400 in their 1st innings only to lose because of the Indian batsmen (in particular Koli) capacity to occupy the crease.
The Australian team is not IMHO particularly strong, batting too relying on Smith & Warner and a couple of potentially handy kids on their first tour and having the Marsh brothers as an avoidable burden.
The bowling features the pace pair of Starc & Heazlehurst who’d be top of world rankings but playing in conditions not suited to them. The spinners are Lyon haven’t been successful in these conditions and the yet-to-establish his credentials O’Keefe, both of whom could be described as competent journeymen. Generally Australian spinners prefer wickets that bounce (i.e. home pitches) over wickets that spin as is ubiquitous in India.
Australia hasn’t won in India since 2004. Haven’t looked that likely either. On current trends, Australia wins a series in India once in a generation.
All but the most optimistic were figuring anything more than an outside chance of one win in the four Test series and only those on uppers thought that’d be enough to win the series.
Ladbrooks were offering India as $1.14 favourites to win series and were suggesting that at $1.62 for India to win the 1st Test was genuine value with Australia @ $5.
So what happened?
1st Test: India v Australia at Pune, Feb 23-25, 2017
Australia 1st innings 260 (Renshaw 68, Starc 61) from 94.5 overs (Yadav 4-32, Ashwin 3-63)
India 1st innings 105 (Rahul 64) from 40.1 overs (O’Keefe 6-35)
Australia 2nd innings 285 (Smith 109, ) from 87 overs (Ashwin 4-111, Jadeja 3-65)
India 2nd Innings 107 from 33.5 overs (6-35, Lyon 4-53)
Australia win by 333 runs just after tea on the 3rd day.
Even the team’s grandmothers didn’t think this was likely.
The team didn’t bat particularly well, not lasting 100 overs in either innings with the exception of Smith’s outstanding knock in the 2nd (though India gave him four chances) and Starc’s belligerence in the 1st.
Their fielding was of high quality, a couple of good catches and a smart stumping set the 1st innings and the game up.
The bowling knocked over the best batting line-up in the world on their home pitches in 40 overs, twice.
The Indian bowling was up to standard in conditions that should have favoured them, their fielding down to their usual sub-standard. Their batsmen put in two performances that would have been ranked as substandard in a ODI or T20.
India can still win from here, and indeed are probably still favourites to do so. But we are playing a different game now.