Now we are talking! After an autumn of mismatches it finally looks as though there will be some enthralling cricketing contests coming up.

England are on the way to India with a pretty much full strength side. Reasons to be cheerful following the ODI results? Yes, absolutely. Despite what happened against the Saffas this summer, England are far better at test cricket than ODIs. The batsmen are better able and better inclined to build the slow, steady centuries that are required in tests, rather than the flamboyant, rapid ones required for ODI cricket. In addition, England’s bowling attack has more variety than the one the Canary Yellows took to India. India are favourites to win, especially given that England will be woefully underprepared, however Monty Panesar is a proper spinner and the key to England coming away from India with a drawn series, or even a sneaky win should a crucial toss go in Kevin Pietersen’s favour.

Meanwhile, there is the mouth-watering prospect of a confident South Africa versus a ponderous Australia in the land of Oz. Ricky Ponting is saying that Australia are still the best wide in the world, and would remain so even it the South Africans sneak a series win. I think the Aussie batting line up edges the Saffa’s, however given that the best spinner on either side is Paul Harris, I think we can be confident in saying that this will be a series that will be won by the best pace attack. Graeme Smith is talking up Dale Steyn, but it could be Morne Morkel that really unsettles the Canary Yellow batters when they meet for the first test in Perth. This series is too close to call.

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