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The View from Down Under – Cricket Test With India captures Aussies' imaginations

In this column, just a few short weeks ago, we told you that the cricket season was winding down here in Australia, and while that is the case, the away series against India has captured the imagination of the Australian public, more than what the home series against both South Africa and Pakistan did.

There are a few reasons for this. One is that Australia won the first Test – we went into the series as a $12 (+1100) outsider – I know that makes us sound extremely fickle, and we probably are.

However, in our defence, the second Test went the way of India, and we are still riding every moment of this series as if it’s a World Cup final.

It’s been an extremely heated series, one that has gone close to — if not crossing — the line on more than a few occasions. Australia is renowned for being one of the most aggressive teams in world cricket, both with their play and with their sledging.

Sledging is the practice whereby players seek to gain an advantage by insulting or verbally intimidating the opposing player.

But India has returned the sledges this series and we are loving it. The third Test begins on Thursday at a place called Ranchi. Australia is a $4.75 (+375) shot to win that with the Indians, who have all the momentum now, at $1.61 (-164).

On the track, we head to Sydney on Saturday for our richest two-year-old race in the world, the Golden Slipper. It is very wet in Sydney at the moment which could play havoc in the betting market, which is currently topped by Houtzen at $4 (+300).

With Sydney's autumn carnival in full swing, there are two other Group 1s as well, including the world's best mare Winx looking for win No. 16 in a row in the George Ryder Stakes.

In an odd about turn, the best NRL match is actually in Melbourne this week, despite rugby league being most popular in the northern states. 

One of the superstars of the league, Billy Slater, is set to return for Melbourne Storm in the match against the Brisbane Broncos.  Melbourne is the $1.58 (-172) favorite to make it three wins from as many games when they host the powerhouse Queensland club, which is a $2.45 (+145) chance.

On Saturday, another club that can make it three on the trot is the Parramatta Eels, who have been in fantastic form so far. They are a $1.58 (-172) favorite to win on the Gold Coast against the Titans ($2.45 or +145)

Titans fullback Jarryd Hayne is a player who is familiar to all North Americans after having a short stint with the San Francisco 49ers two seasons ago.

But the ‘Hayne Plane’ has been grounded for at least a month after he suffered ligament damage to his left ankle in Saturday’s loss to Newcastle.

Round 23 of the A-League soccer concludes this weekend when the final three games of the round take place.

Adelaide, Brisbane and Western Sydney all back up from Asian Champions League matches mid-week, with Brisbane looking to gain a hold on third spot on the A-League table with a win in Adelaide.

The final round of the AFL women’s league is set to be a beauty with four clubs still having a chance to meet the all-conquering Brisbane Lions in next weekend’s Grand Final.

The Adelaide Crows look the most likely but have suffered two extremely close losses in a row. They are a $1.95 (-105) outsider with their season on the line against Collingwood ($1.86 or -116) on Sunday.

The women's Grand Final will be held next week, with the men's AFL competition beginning next Thursday. 

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