Heads Australia win.........Tails India wins.......or even let us add a bit of extra drama into this compelling 1st Test by suggesting a Tie!
As the game stands a more accurate reflection is that it is 60/40 in Australia's favour with them already 230 in front, and with two wickets in hand. The last session saw India gain the ascendency only to give it back through Rahul Dravid crucially dropping Hussey on 69, and then the 'M.S.Dhoni factor' struck. Making us old style fans pull our collective hairs out. This huge factor was seen in India having Australia on the rack as the 6th wicket fell, but the Indian Skipper saw no sense in maintaining the pressure on the Aussie tail by choosing to have 5 on the fence. Rather than having the field in and strangling the scoring rate, and with it tempting the batsmen to try to take a risk to score.
Duly tap...single off strike.......tap single off strike, and with it the lead going up in a game where runs have been like gold...
Truly Moronic, ultra defensive Captaincy that might cost his Team the game.........
I have too many ulcers already, so I better not focus on Dhoni for too long, and rather look at both Teams chances of winning.
The Key For Them To Win
The Australians had a golden chance to bury the Indians in this game, but yet another insipid batting display leaves the game on a knifes edge. After the Aussie teetered on the edge of oblivion at 27/4. A rescue mission from the Veterans in Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey brought them back into favouritism to win this game
At present they lead by 230, and going on the exceptional bowling display by the Aussie quicks coupled with the clueless nature of most of the Indian batsmen against swing. It should be enough to win the game.
Though one swallow does not a Summer make..........
Meaning we were impressed by the Aussie bowling in the 1st innings, but inconsistency has marred Australia's performances for a good while now. Duly we still have doubts whether they can replicate the same excellence when the pressure is at its most intense.
Assisting them greatly would be the last two Australian wickets eking out an extra 40-50 runs, which would make the target be 270 odd for the Indians with an Everest to climb.
Reality would tend to go against this meaning the Aussies will have around 250 to defend.
So, it will mean the bowling will decide Australia's destiny.......
Much of the focus will be on the trio of pace men, who made India look so substandard in the 1st innings. Which indeed will be the key to the contest with their ability to get early Indian wickets to put intense pressure on them.
Though what happens if they do not get early wickets?
It means the focus will fall on the completeness of the whole bowling unit, and with this the focus will fall on Nathan Lyon to be a factor.
Pure and simple, Lyon must be a factor in this victory surge. In respect to merely providing Michael Clarke with a viable option through being able to mostly keep it tight and prise out a wicket here and there. He needs to be that spinner that keeps the pressure on the Indians at one end allowing the pacemen to attack from the other end.
If the Indians bludgeon him out of the attack it will be a huge detriment to Australia's chances for it will mean the effectiveness of the pacemen is lessened due to the extra work load that will be expected of them. Then their threat lessened by Clarke being forced to have more defence minded fields due to the pressure being taken off the Indians through their scoring rates being facilitated by Lyon at the other end.
The Key Man For Australia- The Bowling Unit
Meaning that the pacemen were excellent in the 1st innings, but Nathan Lyons off spin was rendered impotent, and the fielding was very average in support.
Lyon must find a way to be a contributor to the victory by not allowing the Indians to milk or destroy him. For if they do it will seriously undermine Australia's chances.
Ultimately if they pace men strike early and often then Lyon will not be needed, but if they do not. The pressure will fall at his door.
The Key For Them To Win
Like Australia, India gained an ascendency, and then threw it away with some dreadfully inadequate batting. As well as making their task even more difficult with Dravid dropping Hussey late in the day.
Even with these lapses, the Indians still have a very good chance to win this Test match. The key will be them quickly mopping up the Aussie tail, and ideally keeping the victory target under 250.
Whatever the target is they need to realise that plenty of time is left in the Test match meaning that they can play risk free batting to realise the victory
When they bat a Virender Sehwag blitz would be a huge bonus to shift the pressure back on the Aussies. He is indeed a key man, but in my mind the Wall Rahul Dravid is just as crucial as is the Mini Wall in Gautam Gambhir.
This is Gambhir's stage, as we saw with his ice in the veins innings in the World Cup Final when India were on the rack. He will be crucial to play that guiding innings in support of the stroke makers.
The top 3 must give India a good start to foster belief and raise doubts in the Australians minds.
Diverting from the top 3, this would be a delightful stage for Sachin Tendulkar to hit his 100th International 100. On watching his mastery in the 1st innings, and the glint in his eye that made you know he is a man on a mission.
It might indeed become a reality!
Key Man for India- Father Time
Though in this match he is well and truly the key man for the tourists.
In the respect that as play starts today there is still 190 overs left in the Test match meaning that whatever target Australia sets India. They have plenty of time to score it.
They must realise this, and bat accordingly. Meaning shelve the flashy shots, and include the leave into their batting in the chase. Making the Aussie bowlers have to bowl to them, rather than the batsmen making their job easier by gifting wickets.
In looking at the destiny of this game a famous saying keeps playing over in my mind:
'Form is temporary, but class is permanent.......'
Meaning, the Australian attack was exceptional in the first innings and the Legend laden Indian batting was substandard.
I can see the Australian attack maintaining their form, but then I can see the class in the Indian batting rising to the fore.
Which will lead to an Indian victory