Ed Hawkins, who has a 100% record on the series so far, previews the final Test, which starts in Delhi early on Friday. He is hopeful of an improved showing from the tourists
"One wonders whether MS Dhoni's go-slow in the victory chase was a sign of complacency"
The hosts have their sights on a whitewash following a last-hour win in Mohali. But they will have to do without the star of the show in the third Test, debutant Shikhar Dhawan. Dhawan hit the fastest maiden ton but missies out with a fractured hand. Finding a replacement has not been easy. Gautam Gambhir was called up but has had to withdraw because he has been struck down with jaundice. So Suresh Raina gets the nod. An opening combination of Ajinkya Rahane and Mural Vijay is possible. Rahane is yet to play a Test. If India want Raina - and that seems unlikely as he was not in the original squad and is a replacement for a replacement - Cheteshwar Pujara could open and Rahane will be sat twiddling his thumbs.
Australia are in a muddle. And that is saying something given the scoreline and the problems they have had with discipline in the camp. After Shane Watson was axed from the third Test for a breach he is now in line to lead the team. Michael Clarke is struggling with a back injury. He did not train on Wednesday. Watson is vice-captain but he could be snubbed if the powers that be decide it is too soon after his fit of pique and give Brad Haddin the job. Australia have lost the services of Mitchell Starc, who needs ankle surgery. But James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson, who both fell foul along with Watson, are available.
The Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi can be a bit of a helter-skelter wicket, in keeping with the topsy-turvy stands which surround it. The last nine first-innings scores read: 304-613-231-290-329-422-252-182-536. We do not go back any further than that for fear of revisiting the 1980s. It is an average of 316. That chimes in rather nicely with the fact that in eight completed innings on tour Australia average no more than 263. You can lay them for 350 or more if you wish. Indeed, it may pay to lay India for something similar as with the job done and players missing, they could be due a batting failure.
The key to Australia's hopes of salvaging some pride is if Clarke is fit. That and Watson fitting back into the team seamlessly. Apparently Clarke is hopeful while according to Ed Cowan, a respected member of the team who talks straight, there is no problem with Watson. So with the Delhi pitch often offering bite for the pacemen and with players back with plenty to prove, we have an inkling for the Aussies. We can back-to-lay at [5.40]. India are [1.90] and although they have dominated one wonders whether MS Dhoni's go-slow in the victory chase was a sign that they were taking things easily and had got complacent. The draw is [3.35] and if we can get Australia down to such odds, or perhaps even favourite status if they have a burst with the ball, then it will be job done. Don't go nuts though. The weather forecast is good.
Top India runscorer
There is no ground form to go. Rahane is [5.00], Vijay [4.40], Pujara a scandalous [3.15] and Sachin Tendulkar [5.10]. The latter looks the best of the bets.
Top Australia runscorer
Clarke, who scored a ton in Delhi in 2008, with a back injury is a cast-iron lay for honours at around the [5.00] mark in my opinion. Meanwhile Watson, who is a proud man and has history of proving a point or three, looks decent at [5.00]. Check out the 'to score a 50' market where it may be wiser to get with/and against these two.