Cricket World Cup 2015: India spinners to test Australia - Agnew
Last updated on .From the section Cricket
|World Cup semi-final: Australia v India|
|Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground Date: Thu 26 March Time: 03:30 GMT|
|Coverage: Live Test Match Special radio and text commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave & BBC Sport website, plus desktop, tablets, mobiles and app|
Playing India in Sydney is about the stiffest challenge Australia could have been given as they seek to join New Zealand in the final of the World Cup.
This match will be played on a pitch that should turn and grip, so you feel that India will give Australia a tougher examination than New Zealand or South Africa would have done at this stage.
Not only will Australia have to deal with India's spinners in conditions that should suit them, they will also have to consider their own options.
Do they continue with the battery of fast bowlers that has served them so well throughout the tournament, or do they include the left-arm spin of Xavier Doherty?
Some can point to the fact that India failed to win any of their 10 matches in all formats on their tour of Australia between November and January, but they have played very good cricket since then to get to this stage with seven wins from seven matches.
|India's 11-game World Cup winning run|
|2011||W Indies (Pool B)||Chennai, India||Won by 80 runs|
|2011||Australia (Quarter-final)||Ahmedabad, India||Won by five wickets|
|2011||Pakistan (Semi-final)||Mohali, India||Won by 29 runs|
|2011||Sri Lanka (Final)||Mumbai, India||Won by six wickets|
|2015||Pakistan (Pool B)||Adelaide, Australia||Won by 76 runs|
|2015||S Africa (Pool B)||Melbourne, Australia||Won by 130 runs|
|2015||UAE (Pool B)||Perth, Australia||Won by nine wickets|
|2015||W Indies (Pool B)||Perth, Australia||Won by four wickets|
|2015||Ireland (Pool B)||Hamilton, NZ||Won by eight wkts|
|2015||Zimbabwe (Pool B)||Auckland, NZ||Won by six wickets|
|2015||Bangladesh (Quarter-final)||Melbourne, Australia||Won by 109 runs|
Australia also had some alarms in their quarter-final win against Pakistan, Wahab Riaz roughing up their top order with a spell of very hostile, very pacey fast bowling.
They are unlikely to face anything like that in this match, rather the different challenge of India's slow bowlers on a pitch that turned during the South Africa-Sri Lanka quarter-final.
Clarke's men also have to cope with the pressure of a home public that expects them to win this tournament. Yes, they will be buoyed by their good record against India, but Dhoni's men are used to playing in these high-stakes games.
They are under constant pressure at home, play in front of baying crowds in the Indian Premier League and have that excellent record in knockout matches.
However, India will have to find a way of playing left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc, who, along with Boult and Southee, has been the outstanding bowler of the tournament.
Ideally, they would like to bat first, then put the screws on Australia's chase.
I'm looking forward to this contest immensely and it is very difficult to choose a winner. If Australia do come through, then it will be a huge tick for their credentials as World Cup winners.
Win in Sydney and you suspect it will be Clarke's men celebrating in Melbourne by beating New Zealand in the final.
Listen to highlights from Test Match Special's and 5 live Sport's 2015 World Cup coverage.