Double preview # 2: Melbourne Test and Durban Test

Both England and India have had bad outings in their previous matches, but today it's another game on another day on another pitch in other conditions, you get the idea.

Australia v England

The Aussies' four-man pace attack succeeded at the WACA as England collapsed twice, but had things not worked out so swimmingly, their lack of a decent fifth bowler could have been exposed. Neither Watson nor Smith were required to bowl in both innings, but this probably won't be the case in Melbourne, which is more likely to have better batting conditions. They now have the dilemma of sticking with the team that won and leaving the spinning duties to Steve Smith, or they can drop Smith and either Siddle or Hilfenhaus and pick a full batsman (Khawaja) and Beer as the frontline spinner.

Neither Smith nor Beer are established spinners, though, and they will be pretty worried if England gets off to a good start.

England may also want to make a change - Steve Finn may be the highest wicket taker in the series but he has lacked total control and has leaked runs like a great big leaky thing. Bresnan has more control and is likely to take his spot, which also shortens the tail. The batting order is probably going to be unchanged, if they consider Perth to be an exception to their otherwise good form. Which means that Bell will remain at #6, despite looking like the best batsman in the series apart from Hussey.

South Africa v India

Captain Obvious says: India needs to win, Harbhajan needs to bowl, India's #6 needs to score, whoever it may be.

Here's something encouraging though: In their last two series against South Africa, India has lost the first Test by an innings, just like this one, but they have come back to win the second Test. 

And Zaheer's back. That's 80% of our bowling attack.

Good enough?

Expect a much improved performance by both the batsmen and bowlers, I can say that much. I believe India should pick 5 bowlers, because if our star batsmen can't make a decent total, they don't deserve to win. That won't happen of course, so Raina could well be replaced by Pujara, who is having a baptism by fire so far - final day chase against Australia and now South Africa away.

So much fun.