Swings and Roundabouts Again

If the Melbourne Test contains the mood of slothful excess, where all responsibility for action rests with the few in the middle, the Sydney Test is about the slovenly beast groaning into action. Which is a bit like the Indians, who, pub wisdom is telling us, are notoriously slow-starters.

My suggestion for the Melbourne fixture was to enter into the fine service that is TattsBet Live Betting. And it worked.

When sides are evenly matched, and when there is quite a bit in the wicket, so much that batsmen are never really set and always fighting for their survival, a run of dismissals is not only possible, but likely.

Hence the market swung all over the place.

The worth of the Australians first innings total of 333 was hard to gauge, but seemed to grow in value when Hilfenhaus got the Kookaburra to move around. But after early wickets fell Dravid and Tendulkar got themselves established on what was turning into a straw-coloured track, and India’s odds shortened. Though the draw remained a possibility, it was then time to back the Australians as they drifted.

Another complication surfaced: Peter Siddle bent his back, Hilfenhaus continued to move the ball off the seam and occasionally in the air, and India lost seven wickets on the third morning.

Australia shortened again. The thinking was that they would post a strong second innings score. But that thinking didn’t last long.

With the Australian top-order’s immediate capitulation (to 4/27) India looked like they’d have less than 200 to chase. Cue Ponting and Hussey, and a tail which held on to create a tough total for the Indians to secure.

But haven’t India got the game’s highest run-scorers: legendary batsmen who could affirm their reputation further by knocking off the 292 against an inexperienced Australian attack? What was the betting? You could find arguments for both although wise heads (is Kerry O’Keefe a wise head?) kept yielding to the record books.

So were the market-setters. The Australians were favourites again, on the conclusion provided by that very history. It’s hard to reel in fourth innings totals at the MCG, and at most Test grounds in the world.

Siddle and Pattinson brought the finest of Dandenong aggro to the MCG that fourth morning and the pressure was palpable even in a lounge-room in Currumbin (27 degrees, veranda breeze, beer from a chilled glass, Currumbin Creek below swarming with humanity).

The Australians were mean, the Indians didn’t handle it. A fine victory to Australia.

Had you backed the teams at the top of each of their peaks in the market you’d have been having a field day, hanging on to tickets which would have given you a win-win result.

I reckon the same pattern will emerge in Sydney. It will again be a fluctuating Test match, and again I think there will be a result. The Bureau is forecasting a storm and a few showers along the way, but with playing conditions, lost time can be made up, and the weather map doesn’t look too ominous.

The word is that the wicket will offer assistance to the seamers. I think the Australian batting remains brittle in the face of movement.

I reckon the Indians at $3.20 are the better value again, so I’d be backing them, and I’d be waiting for the Australians to drift.

I think this is going to be a series of twists and turns, but I reckon there are going to be moments when the batsmen are on top, and it’s more likely to be the Indians who are on top. However, you could also argue the case for ageing eyes, and wearied feet in the case of the Indian stars (not Sehwag), and I daresay that topic will be raised many times this January.

One thing I am certain of: that Australian aggro will be bubbling away, and will certainly blow the lid off the pot from time to time.

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