Third Test: Sunday, January 3, 2016, Sydney Cricket Ground, Watch on Nine Network
Second Test: Australia won by 177 runs
First Test: Australia won by an innings and 212 runs
WITH Australia wrapping up the Frank Worrell Trophy in a canter, does any one really care about the result in the third Test?
With some seriously torrid weather expected for the Sydney Cricket Ground test, there might not even be a result.
Punters with our friends at Sportsbet.com.au have smashed the draw, with the news that rain is forecast for four of the five days of the test, which starts on January 3.
The bookie’s Ben Bulmer reports 75 per cent of the punters’ money is coming in for the draw, which is paying $8.
He said Australia was as short as $1.06 to win the third test, “but the weather forecast has caused the Aussies to drift out to $1.25, their longest odds this series, while the West Indies are paying $36.”
“Rain is the only thing that can stop Australia securing a series white wash and early weather forecasts suggest this will be case with punters all over the draw at $8, winding it in to $4,” Bulmer said.
You can still get $8 about the draw with WilliamHill.com.au if that tickles your fancy.
In the second Test, the Windies showed marginally more fight than they did in their innings’ defeat in Hobart, but the result remained the same – a crushing 177 run win to the Aussies.
Centuries to Joe Burns, the returning Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and Adam Voges set up Australia’s massive 3 (declared)/551 in the first dig and the Windies could only manage 271 in reply, with Dwayne Bravo (81) and Carlos Brathwaite (59) the only scores of note.
Man of the match Nathan Lyon, who is set to again figure prominently in Sydney, snared 4/66 and seamer James Pattinson backed up his five wicket haul in Hobart with 4/72.
The Aussies went back to the creases and piled on another 179 in 32 overs for the loss of the three wickets, With Khawaja and Smith both passing 50 again.
Chasing 459, the Windies were never really in the hunt, despite a century stand between captain Jason Holder (68) and Dinesh Ramdin (59), eventually all out for 282.
Lyon wrapped up his man of the match performance with 3/85, while much maligned all rounder Mitch Marsh finally delivered with the rock, grabbing 4/61.
Holder said he was proud of his side’s fight, despite being outclassed, and vowed they would be even better in Sydney.
“We have been criticised from all different angles but I’ve just stressed to the team to keep faith,” Holder said.
“This shows what we can do if we apply ourselves.
“We just need to keep that belief and keep pushing Australia.
“You could see guys really trying to play themselves in.
“If we continue to do that we’ll show better signs in the third Test match.”
Smith is aiming for a 3-0 series white wash in Sydney.
“You want to try and wrap up the series 3-0,” Smith said.
“They fought really hard to the end.
“I’m sure they’re going to come out hard in Sydney again.
“We’re going to have to be at our best if we want to win.”
He may have to do it without work horse Victorian seamer Peter Siddle, who only bowled nine overs in the second dig in Melbourne and spent large chunks in the rooms while his team mates fought out the win. An ankle injury also messed with his ability to bowl full pace and he looks unlikely to play.
“Peter Siddle would be doubtful, I would think,”coach Darren Lehmann said.
“He’s quite sore, again it’s such a short turnaround.
“We’ll have to wait and see how he pulls up.
“It’s an ankle, so they’ll do all the scans and all the ice baths and they’ll tell me what he’s like.”
Siddle’s injury and the heavy work loads on both Josh Hazlewood – who went wicketless in both innings – and Pattinson will mean the Aussies are likely to employ spin twins on the slow SCG wicket and will probably look to uncapped Victorian Scott Boland to fulfil some of the pace duties.
”We’ll see how Josh Hazlewood pulls up; he’s been a bit stiff and sore, as has James Pattinson so we’re going to have to work out what we do there,” Lehmann said.
He said spinner Steve O’Keefe will “more than likely” play.
“We’re more than likely to play two spinners with the way the (SCG) wicket has been spinning this year,” he said.
“But it depends – once we get there and assess conditions with the wicket and the weather.
“And we’ve obviously got Scott Boland with us now so we’ve got options there.
“We just have to make sure they’re all 100 per cent fit to go.
“If they’re not, we won’t play them.”
Smith, too, wants a look at O’Keefe as a spin twin to the number one in Lyon.
“We go to Sri Lanka later in the new year, where there is a good chance we’ll see two spinners playing, or in the touring party,” Smith said.
“It’d be good to see a second spinner play and see what he has got to offer.
“We’ll wait and see what the pitch looks like and if the conditions are going to suit.
“If they do, there’s a pretty good chance we could see a second spinner playing.”
Marsh’s performance means he is safe for another test, and, given he has hardly had a chance to bat, the pressure is off for the moment.
“He ran in hard,” Lehmann said.
“It’s probably the fastest he’s bowled all summer.
“He challenged their batsmen and brings a different feel as a bowler.
“He reverses it, he hits the deck and he can bowl bouncers.
“You need that on types of wickets like this and he provides that.
”As a fourth fast bowling option, and considering Peter Siddle is quite sore, he ended up being a third option.”
Holder, who grabbed the new ball in the second dig and removed both openers, says he wants more from his fast bowlers in the final test, after the bats finally showed a little life.
“We need to find ways to control the game a lot more,” Holder said.
“Although the pitches have been very good for batting, we still have to find ways to contain the batsmen.
“We’ve been allowing them to score on both sides of the wicket, and we haven’t been able to contain them and control the game thus far, having them run away at certain stages of the game.
“Most of our batsmen, if you look at this game have gotten starts, so it’s about carrying on.
“Darren Bravo has been exceptional so far.
“He’s really led our batting.
“He’s showing some signs of maturity.
“Hopefully he can continue and lead our batting in this third Test match.”
While the Windies haven’t been able to make it past four days, he is still the eternal optimist.
“Not only to get to five days but the goal is to win,” he said.
“I still believe we can.”
Good luck mate – only the weather can save you.
With little value in the match result markets, we’ve taken a look at a few player performance options and exotics to see if we can find you a winner.
David Warner to score 50 runs or more ($2.15 with WilliamHill.com.au)
After dipping out in both innings in Melbourne after saying his dream was to bang a Boxing Day ton at the home of cricket, Warner returns to his home deck and will be champing at the bit to blast the Windies’ attack all over the Sydney Cricket Ground. The Aussies’ master blaster will not want to miss out here. Expect him to temper himself a little and then hammer his way past 50 and maybe even beyond (you can get $3.70 for him to score a ton – he’s due).
Jason Holder over 1.5 first innings wickets ($1.88 with Sportsbet.com.au)
And top wicket taker first innings for West Indies ($3.75 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Despite the fact there have been comments that Holder has been thrown in the deep end, you feel that he is one of the few West Indians who belongs in the international arena. Has carried himself with aplomb, despite the crushing defeats and he would certainly get a gig in the side, even if the Big Bash boys made themselves available. Holder provided perhaps the Windies’ brightest moments of the series when he removed the two Aussie openers in the second dig in Melbourne and we love that he’s taken upon himself to use the new rock.
Mitchell Marsh to score 50 runs or more ($3.15 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Did the business with the ball in Melbourne, but has been struck down by a severe case of pad rash in tho series, having batted just once for an unbeaten 18, while sitting their while his top order counterparts hammer tons left right and centre. We expect the Windies to provide an improved effort and, provided the weather does not intervene, this is a perfect opportunity for Marsh to dispel some of the doubters and prove he is capable with the bat.
Scott Boland top wicket taker first innings for Australia ($5 with Sportsbet.com.au)
It’s a good time to be an Aussie bowler, even if you haven’t played a Test match yet. Wait for the final teams to be announced, but we expect Boland to win his first cap with Siddle injured and Hazlewood likely to be rested after bowling 40-odd wicketless overs in Melbourne. With the spin twins expected to bowl plenty of overs and Pattinson snaring a pile of wickets through the first two matches, the new face will need to be on point when he is chucked the ball. Fortunately he’s bowling to a Windies side that isn’t very good at batting and that gives him a chance, at good odds, to clean up in his first test at the top.
Caught any other fielder ($2 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Yeah, we know this is a chance bet, but bear with us. The West Indians have lost their first wicket to a fielder catch in three of the four innings, and in the other innings, the second wicket fell to a catch. Three of those have been caught by the captain Smith. We’re going to stick with the trend.
Carlos Brathwaite to top score in first innings for West Indies ($15 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Apart from Dwayne Bravo and to a lesser extent Holder and brother Kraigg at the top, none of the West Indian batsmen have really stood up to the Aussie onslaught. Carlos seems to be one of those pesky lower order bats who can really prove to be a thorn in the side of the Aussies. Given the high chance they probably get skewered in at least one of the innings, Brathwaite will be every chance of building on the first innings half ton he managed in Melbourne. And hey, the $15 means a tiny drink won’t break the bank, but could provide big dividends.
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