The Australian Test match summer gets underway in the early hours of Thursday morning when the first of four matches against India begins. The Adelaide Oval is the venue for the opening game in the series with plenty at stake.
This should be a thoroughly competitive series so a fast start to it and a win will pile the pressure on the opposition which should ensure we see two teams at their very best in this match. These two don’t usually need no second invitation to be competitive in fairness.
I would imagine that there is a fair bit of pressure on Australia in this first match. They go into the series with their cricket under something of a cloud. Their results in all formats in 2018 have been disappointing but especially in what they would look to as the pinnacle of the game in Test cricket. If they were to go behind early on in this series an avalanche of things could fall onto them.
With that in mind it is important that Australia deliver their best stuff here but as vitally to do it in a way that is sporting and doesn’t sail close to the line. I don’t think anyone minds passion and emotion being used but one of the things that has got Australia into this mess is the ability to go beyond what is accepted. They just can’t afford to go near that path here.
We saw a much more competitive India side in England in the summer to previous India sides that have left Asian shores but ultimately they found out that just being competitive doesn’t get series results. I expect them to perform with credit here but they must recognise big moments as a team and make sure as a unit that their best cricket is displayed in those moments.
Virat Kohli is a master with the bat and you would expect him to deliver the goods in this series but we saw in England that as good as he is he can’t win matches on his own. He will need help here because the Indian seamers, as brilliant as they were in the summer, do not have conditions as favourable to them out in Australia.
Australia have already named their XI for this match. Marcus Harris will make his Test debut while Peter Handscomb is recalled. There is no place in the side for Mitchell Marsh. Steve Smith and David Warner remain banned.
India have named a 12 for this match and gone is the fifth bowler. Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah make up a seam trio leaving the only selection option to be whether Rohit Sharma plays or Hanuma Vihari.
There have been 76 previous ODIs at this wonderful ground. Australia have played in them all and have a stellar record here with 40 wins. 19 of those matches have been draws and their opponents have come out on top on 17 occasions. India have accounted for one of those defeats but have lost seven and drawn three of the other 10 matches they have played here.
You usually get a good Test wicket here. It is usually lovely to bat on for the first three days or so and then the longer the match goes on the more the wicket wears and we get to see some spin coming into play so everyone gets something out of it at some point.
I’ll go with a couple of bets in this opening match of the series with the first one of them coming in the form of the performance of Ravi Ashwin. Ashwin has a line of 106.5 which is on the low side given his all-round credentials. I believe that an average match will get him to this total. In reality four wickets, two per innings, and 27 runs gets him there but he’s capable of so much more with the ball and with the bat. Six wickets and we’re good. Five and we should be. 50 or so runs and we’re ahead of the game. The line just looks low so I’ll play the over.
I’ll also have a go at Travis Head in the top Australia first innings batsman market. This is his home ground and he has generally been going pretty well against the red ball. He’ll be coming in down the order against a wearing ball and with doubts over the Australian openers in this format and Handscomb who probably has more questions to answer than he has the answers to there should be a void to be filled. Usman Khawaja or Shaun Marsh could fill it but Head is the bigger price of the three. He’ll know all about this track and he can top score as a result.
WON – Back R.Ashwin’s Performance – Over 106.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Betfair
Back him here:
WON – Back T.Head Top Australia 1st Inns Batsman for a 1/10 stake at 7.50 with Bet365