With the trophy already in the cabinet Australian cricket can breathe a sigh of relief as the test summer winds down with a dead rubber in Adelaide remaining. This pitch will be the first absolute road from ball 1 for the summer and one can expect India to look forward to batting first should they win the toss. India will be without Dhoni - hopefully someone else can fill in on details with the penalty for slow overs rates. On the surface this looks to be too large a penalty but I haven't found any reports as to exactly what Dhoni has been penalised for. I am also unsure who will be India's keeper. Dravid does the job when Dhoni bowls or is off the field but as Dhoni won't start the answer is unclear.
Before getting into Australia's performance a few comments on India's abject display. Noone could have forseen such a pityful display with the bat. Sehwag is obviously the biggest issue as being 1 for within half an hour every time puts the batting side on the back foot right away. I don't care what anyone says, if your natural game is to waft outside off to a seaming, steeply bouncing ball and you either don't or can't curb that habit when you're continually getting out; you're not doing your job. Dravid has shown signs of resilience but not been able to go with it as he did in England. Tendulkar has sparkled and confused in the same innings while Laxman looks like playing his last test in Adelaide. Gambhir has improved as the tour has worn on and Kohli's stocks have risen. It's easy to assume India will relish on the Adelaide Highway but............
There's every reason to believe Aus will unleash hell with the bat too. Save Marsh every batsman has contributed in this series. Marsh will play so this will provide him a great opportunity to spend hours at the crease and get some confidence back to take to West Indies. Cowan and Warner look solid as an opening pair; Ponting, Clarke and Hussey have made big scores. Then there's Haddin. I don't hide my dislike for the guy; he seems to be an unintelligent human being and with the publicity being an elite sportsperson receives if you are stupid then it's best you don't say much. He does and then backs it up with shoddy glove work and poor batting. I actually gave him a send-off when Zaheer got him out in Perth. Poor form indeed but no poorer then him running toward the Swarmy Army after taking a regulation catch in Sydney. They are supporting their team you idiot; not targeting you! Can Watson keep?
Anyway, since my heart rate has returned to normal, onto the bowlers. It's always a great sign when you have a revolving door of quicks that can go into the side and do a job. Anyone of Cummins, Harris, Pattinson, Starc, Hilfenhaus or Siddle could get a run and you'd back them in to perform. The interesting thing for me is not that noone is saying 'I wish Johnson was available' but has anyone heard Bollinger mentioned? I bet the answer is 'no'. The youth and inexperience of the pace bowlers is no more evident than Siddle being considered the leader with Hilfenhaus and Harris seen as seniors of the attack. There are 59 test appearances between the 3 of them.
Before Perth, pundits claimed there was still big problems with Aus' top order. 2 out of the 3 have then made runs. The big question now is 'how long can Ponting and Hussey play?' They will both tour West Indies and then the next test series is next summer. Will they tour England 2013? Should they? What should be used as a gauge of their worth? There's little doubt Ponting has contributed with more than just the bat, Hussey likely the same. While we're watching the price of carrying dad's army in a test series through India, it's unlikely Aus will experience anything like that. Hussey and Ponting look fit and firing in the field while Laxman and Sehwag look tired. Personally I don't think either Hussey or Ponting should go to England in 2013. This then provides the timeframe for a transition strategy. One gets the feeling with both of these players, however, that a tap on the shoulder will be needed.