Bookmakers are refusing to accept that Australia is not a mug in the One Day International arena and, therefore, the Australians are worth backing to beat India in the second game of its seven-match series against the Indians.
Australia thrashed India by 72 runs in the First One Day International on Sunday 13 October 2013, a game that the Australians did not look like losing at any point. George Bailey won the toss and Australia, smartly deciding to bat first, had scored 50 runs for the loss of no wickets before the end of its mandatory first powerplay. Aaron Finch and Phillip Hughes put on 110 runs for the first wicket and, although the exhausted Shane Watson made only two runs at number three, Bailey came in at number four and smashed 85 runs off 82 balls in a man-of-the-match performance to help Australia get to 304 runs by the end of its 50 overs.
India did not get to grips with Australia’s scoring rate and the touring team’s seamers not only bowled economically but also took wickets, with James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay and Watson snared eight between them. India’s bowlers gave away far too many cheap runs and the home side’s batsman crumbled under the pressure of chasing a large score. Australia bowled out India for 232 runs.
About the only thing that went wrong for Australia was one of its post-wicket celebrations in which Faulkner went to high five Brad Haddin but missed the wicketkeeper’s hands and poked him in the eye. Haddin slumped to the ground clutching his face and took several minutes to recover.
The Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Ajitgarh, the city previously known as Mohali, is the venue for the Second One Day International between India and Australia and there is no reason to jump off the Australians, who are trading at odds of 2.38 with Ladbrokes to go up 2-0 in the series.
Australia, particularly Bailey, whose captaincy is a topic of debate in the great southern land, will have taken huge confidence out of its First One Day International romp and the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium has happy memories for the away team. Australia has won four of its five One Day International games at the facility, including each of its last three matches, two of which were against India.
Maybe it is worth waiting until the toss of the coin in Ajitgarh before placing one’s bets. First, the weight of money is likely to be on India levelling the series at 1-1 so Australia’s price, even if Bailey calls correctly, is not going to crash. And second, Australia winning the toss and batting first on a reasonable pitch would be a big positive for anyone deciding to back the Australians. Time and time again, India has failed to chase excellent scores batting second versus Australia and one would fancy the Australians to bat sufficiently well to make a game of it with Bailey and Finch, who knows only way to bat, in decent form. For the record, India has never beaten Australia when chasing 300 or more runs and it has had 11 cracks at doing so.
If one did not get on Australia early to win its One Day International series against India then, fear not, there is still an opportunity to back the Australians at odds against even though they are up 1-0. Stan James is offering odds of 2.38 that Australia goes on with the job over the next six games. Australia really should be the series favourite now.
In terms of Second One Day International exotics, there are two markets that appeal because of the presence of Finch at the top of Australia’s batting order. First, Australia is trading at odds of 2.00 with Sky Bet to score more runs in its first 15 overs than India does in its first 15 overs. Australia beat India 85-72 on this market in the First One Day International and the away side should be the clear favourite. Second, Australia is available at odds of 2.20 with William Hill to hit more sixes than India. Australia crushed India 9-3 on this market in the First One Day International – Finch defeated the Indians on his own.
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