The battles at the top and the bottom
Although I'm sure that spin will have a significant impact on the result of the India v Australia series, I believe that the key turning points will be at the top and at the bottom.
I have a nagging feeling that India's seamers (presumably two out of Zaheer, Ishant and Munaf will play all the tests) will have a very significant role to play. Australia will rely heavily on Hayden, Ponting, Clarke & Hussey. So if India's quicks can dismiss Hayden & Ponting quickly, the middle and lower order is under that much more pressure.
Similarly, India will rely heavily, as they have for the past 2-3 years
, on Sehwag. If he gets a good start, it allows Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and Ganguly (that's my preferred batting order) to bat around him. But Australia will need Lee, Clark and Johnson to blow holes in India's batting lineup to bowl India out cheaply.
At the other end of the batting order, the contributions from the lower order batsmen will be vital. As we saw in the warm-up game, Hussey and Clark nearly put on 100 for the last wicket. If something of that nature happens in a test match, Australia will have either recovered spectacularly or rubbed salt into some very sore wounds.
India will also need its lower order to contribute. A lineup of Harbhajan, Kumble, Zaheer, Ishant (or Munaf) is hardly scary. The lower order collapsed spectacularly in the fourth innings at Sydney
. There were collapses at Chennai against South Africa and multiple occasions in Sri Lanka.
Labels: aus v ind 2008, prediction