Australia will need to be on top form to avoid defeat in a mini 2 Test series, beginning in Mohali early on Friday.
For the opening test, the bookies are not really able to split the two teams; Betfred put 5/2 on Australia while Bet365 have a slightly longer 13/5 about India. Slightly ominously, the draw is the centre of attention as Stan James put 11/10 about a split result though the weather reports for Mohali are currently quite good.
This level playing field for the opener is perfectly reflected by the series betting in which 2/1 (Stan James) has been placed on Australia and Boylesports have opted for exactly the same odds on India. To make matters more confusing, Paddy Power have 7/4 for a drawn series, which highlights the difficulty in predicting such a short test campaign.
At home, the Indians are strong. They have despatched of England and Sri Lanka in the past 2 years and beat Australia 2-0 the last time The Wallabies travelled up to the sub-continent, back in October of 2008. In fact, from that series against Australia in 2008, India went on a run of not losing a single test in 5 series (14 tests), winning all 5 series. More recently they have drawn with South Africa and Sri Lanka but look good value to get a series win over the Aussies once more (2/1 Betdaq).
Last time in Mohali, in 2008, Australia suffered a large 320-run defeat thanks to centuries from Gambhir and Ganguly. Ganguly moves on but India retain a very serious test squad. Australia will test the fitness of Doug Bollinger after he had a victorious Champions League T20 campaign and Ponting will be keen for the pace-man to recreate some of the form that saw him come 4th on the wicket takers in that competition. Bollinger is 10/3 at Blue Sq to be top Australian bowler for the series.
So, for the opener, it is hard to ignore the very low draw price but the 13/5 (Bet365) on India, which makes them outsiders on their own patch, should really be seen as value. Also perhaps a bet on 1-0 correct series score for India at 3/1 (Paddy Power) should not be ruled out.