Australia Vs India: Fourth Test Preview

The final Test of the summer begins on January 6th with Australia looking to wrap the series up 3-0 following the drawn Boxing Day Test.

India will be without newly retired captain, MS Dhoni, after the Indian legend shocked the cricket world and pulled the pin on his career following the end of the Fourth Test.

Australia though will have a peek into life without Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson after the left arm paceman was ruled out of the Test due to hamstring soreness. He’s replaced by Mitchell Starc.

The Sydney Test will likely be an emotional match for the Australians given that it will be the first time the Australian players will have played there following the death of teammate, Phil Hughes, back in November, 2014.

A permanent placard has been erected in the SCG Members’ area for Hughes, who called the SCG home when he began his First Class career.

There were rumours going into the Test that left arm finger spinner, Ashton Agar, would partner Nathan Lyon has a spinning duo but sense prevailed with Agar being named 12th man.

Despite being seen as a spinner’s wicket, only two spin duos have collected 12 wickets or more in a match in the last 20 years. Those two being Shane Warne/Stuart MacGill and Anil Kumble/Harbhajan Singh.

This match is also likely to be Chris Rogers’ final Test match on home soil with the wily veteran hinting that he will retire following this year’s Ashes series in England.

Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli present as India’s best chances with the bat whilst Australia’s fielders will help to put in a better performance after they put down a number of chances that could have won them the last match.

Ryan Harris will have to shoulder more of the burden with the ball as he leads the pace battery in the absence of Mitchell Johnson.

David Warner and Steve Smith will look to continue their terrific summers and Chris Rogers will hope to bid farewell to Australia in style.

Shane Watson has acknowledged that his position is under threat, having passed 50 just once in the past 12 months.

Another failure in this match and the returns of Mitchell Marsh and Michael Clarke could see Watson dropped from the side.

As the Australians will tell you, there is no such thing as a dead rubber. Australia will want to wrap the series up 3-0 and keep pressure on South Africa in the battle for the Number One Test ranking whilst the Indians will want to post their first win on Australian soil since 2008 when they defeated Australia at the WACA.


Aussies in Action Week 5

Yes, and welcome back viewers following the Christmas/New Years break. As always, there’s been plenty of Australians involved in sport around the world.

1. Australia wrapped up the Border-Gavaskar Trophy when they drew the Boxing Day Test to take an unassailable 2-0 lead. Australia though, are now down to their final Mitchell after Mitchell Johnson was ruled out of the fourth Test with hamstring soreness, he’s replaced by Mitchell Starc. David Warner also said that maybe the sledging should be turned down in the upcoming Test. In related news, Warner is being checked for a concussion.

2. The summer of tennis has kicked off with the Hopman Cup and Brisbane international beginning in the lead up to the Australian Open. Female tennis’ equivalent of Shane Watson, Samantha Stosur, was again bundled out in the first round when she let slip a 5-1, match point lead, in the third set. Very Shane Watson-esque of her.

3. Meanwhile in the round ball game, Australia’s squad has assembled ahead of the Asian Cup which starts later this week. With plenty of A-League players making the cut, Tim Cahill will be relying a lot on Mark Bresciano to supply him with good ball.

4. Still with football and evergreen keeper, Mark Schwarzer is heading off to Leicester City from Chelsea, preferring to actually play than sit on the bench and watch a kid half his age stand between the sticks. The 41 year old also enjoys a challenge and says that playing for Leicester will remind him of playing for Australia at the 2010 World Cup.

5. For the AFL and NRL, their public relations teams are breathing a sigh of relief after getting through the holiday period without an incident. It probably helps the NRL that Todd Carney is no longer affiliated with them and hasn’t been caught with his pants down… again. I guess full credit has to go to the boys, they’ve given 110% and made it through that tough period, now they just have to finish off strong as they complete the toughest pre-season ever.

6. In the Big Bash League, former legends are showing they’ve still got it, youngsters are making a name for themselves and ahhh Glenn Maxwell is being ahhh Glenn Maxwell. The no longer big show managed to embarrass himself when opening for the Melbourne Stars when he backed away and left a ball that cannoned into middle stump. The Big Bash League just isn’t ready for Glenn Maxwell’s antics.