Much of the talk leading up to the 1st Test in Melbourne has been the woes of Australia's batting line-up, which saw them skittled for 47 in Cape Town and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against New Zealand in Hobart.
But another way of looking at it is but for these inexplicable collapses, Australia would have registered 2-0 series wins in South Africa and at home to the Black Caps, which would have been mighty impressive results and would have followed on from the series win in Sri Lanka.
Those three contests have been the first under Michael Clarke and we have been mightily impressed with his skilful, thoughtful and adventurous captaincy. He certainly looks an improvement on Ricky Ponting as skipper.
What about India? Their batting line-up with a man as talented as Virat Kohli at six and Rohit Sharma not even able to get into the XI looks immense, but so it did in England when Rahul Dravid apart they struggled in seaming and swinging conditions against a strong England attack.
Australia's bowling attack is not as good as England's but James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon have made promising starts to their international careers, Peter Siddle seems to relish being the senior member of the attack and Ben Hilfenhaus is reportedly back to his best after disappointing in the Ashes last winter. Then there is the teenage sensation pat Cummins to come back in once he is fit.
India's hopes with the ball rely heavily on the fitness of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. Both are struggling with ankle problems and it is hard to see an attack shorn of either or both being able to take 20 wickets. Umesh Yadav looks a good prospect as does Varun Aaron, but asking them to lead the attack at this stage of their careers would be risky to say the least.
So Australia's brittle batting line-up could be set to get some respite and with the selectors picking an opener in Ed Cowan who can actually bat against the moving ball, also recalling the resolute Shaun Marsh and with Shane Watson in reserve from the 2nd Test onwards, it looks set to be a fascinating contest.
So who will win? On paper it looks too close to call. India have drawn their two previous series in Australia and the easiest option here would be to predict another spare of the spoils. But we've got an inkling that Australia will prove the fittest and hungriest side and with Adelaide likely to see a draw, we go for the home side to win the series 2-1. But we've been wrong before...
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