Cricket World Cup 2015: India 'ready for anything' from Australia
Last updated on .From the section Cricket
|World Cup semi-final: Australia v India|
|Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground Date: Thursday 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|
India will not be daunted by Thursday's World Cup semi-final against Australia whether the Sydney pitch favours pace or spin, says opener Rohit Sharma.
South Africa's spinners took seven Sri Lanka wickets in last week's quarter-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
But Rohit insisted: "We are confident of doing well on any surface,
"We have taken 70 wickets in seven matches and bowled out the opposition every time, so we know what we need to do. We are ready for anything we get."
The SCG has not been a successful ground for India, with only one win from 13 completed one-day internationals against Australia there in 35 years.
But after failing to win a game on Australian soil in India's Test series against Australia and the ODI tri-series which followed, MS Dhoni's side have breezed through the World Cup, winning all seven games to reach the last four.
Australia skipper Michael Clarke said: "I said at the start of this tournament India would be one of the tough teams to beat, because they've played so much cricket in Australia.
"They've worked out how to take wickets and score runs, and they've shown that through this tournament. MS Dhoni deserves a lot of credit for the way he's captained, especially after being defeated in the Test series and the tri-series."
The winners face New Zealand in Sunday's final in Melbourne.
|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 wickets|
|2015||Zimbabwe (Pool B)||Auckland, NZ||Won by six wickets|
|2015||Bangladesh (Quarter-final)||Melbourne, Australia||Won by 109 runs|
To sledge, or not to sledge?
Australia and India have not always been the best of buddies on the cricket field - with the Harbhajan Singh v Andrew Symonds race row incident in 2008 preceding a number of more recent flashpoints since India have been in Australia this winter.
After Virat Kohli said he had "no reason to respect" Mitchell Johnson after being called a "spoilt brat" in a Test in December, David Warner clashed with Rohit Sharma in January when the fiery Australian opener called on Rohit to "speak English" during an on-field row.
Despite Tuesday's first semi-final between New Zealand and South Africa being hailed for the spirit in which it was played - and the International Cricket Council promising a pre-tournament crackdown on player behaviour - it seems neither side at the SCG is ready to take a backward step.
"There is going to be sledging, there is going to be banter," said Clarke.
"David [Warner] will be fine. He knows the rules, as we all do, and his rules are no different than the rest of ours. We'll do whatever we have to do to play our best cricket."
Rohit concurred, adding: "It's part of the game. If there is a bit of banter going around, so be it. I just hope it doesn't cross the line.
"There will be times where you'll see a lot of bowlers and fielders getting right in their faces. We all know as professional cricketers there are boundaries which we don't need to cross. So, as long as it's inside those boundaries, we'll be fine."
Pressure, what pressure?
Australia captain Clarke feels the co-hosts can cope with the pressure and expectation for them to win on Thursday.
"You've seen already how the guys have handled it throughout the tournament," he insisted.
"The way the guys played in the quarter-final against Pakistan was extremely pleasing. India are at the top of their game, they're a very good team who won the last World Cup, but we're prepared for that.
"The expectation's there because we're the number one ranked one-day team in the world."
Rohit added: "Australia are a good batting side but they struggled against good quality bowling when they played New Zealand or Pakistan.
"They have also bowled well, but then we have batted well too."
|World Cup roll of honour|
|Winners 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007||Winners 1983, 2011|
|Runners-up 1975, 1996||Runners-up 2003|
|Semi-finalists 1987, 1996|
The expert view
Ex-India skipper Rahul Dravid: "Beating Pakistan was a big game in terms of emotion and hype for India, but the turning point was the South Africa win. Once they had managed that, you could sense the belief. Parts of their game that were not going well suddenly started to come right at the right time.
"I think they had doubts, particularly about their bowling. It wasn't firing. The batting wasn't a problem, they have world-class players who would find form. But there were question marks about the bowling.
"Australia are the one team they have not done well against, so if they have any scars from the last few months they will show. India did well to get out of a difficult situation in the quarters against Bangladesh but they will have to play a lot better against Australia."
Former Australia pace bowler Brett Lee: "The toss is crucial. Once you get through the first 8-10 overs, it'll be a nice batting wicket. I know it sounds like a cliche, but for me, runs on the board is probably the most important thing.
"Australia haven't clicked at the top of the order with Finch and Warner. One guy has missed out, the other guy has backed him up and got runs. If they can both get going - with what's going through the middle order - I think it'll be fireworks.
"If India look back at the last three months and see that they haven't won a game against Australia, those demons could creep back in. They need to eliminate what's happened prior to this World Cup. They've played beautifully and won seven out of seven, so should be going in with a lot of confidence.
"It's going to be close but Australia will just get over the line. If India break through and have Australia 40-3 or 80-4, you'd definitely back India. But being an Aussie I'd always back Australia."
Ex-South Africa captain Shaun Pollock: "It is like golfer Rory McIlroy - if he plays out of his socks, nobody beats him. I think Australia possess that because they have that firepower up front, in the middle and the end and have plenty of bowling options. They tick the boxes better than the other sides, but that doesn't mean they will win. It is who deals with the situations the best."
Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne on Twitter: "To me Australia are the favourites to win the World Cup. They will pushed by a resurgent India, but I think New Zealand have won everyone's hearts!"
India have kept 10 of the same XI for the entire tournament, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar playing one group game in place of Mohammed Shami.
This is the first time these sides have met in a World Cup semi-final. Two previous knockout stage meetings saw Australia win the 2003 final, and India triumph in the 2011 quarter-final.
Australia have won their last 12 completed ODIs on home soil.
Australia's Glenn Maxwell is the batsman with the lowest dot ball percentage (30.5%) in the tournament (minimum 50 balls faced).
India's Mohammed Shami (69%) and Australia's Mitchell Starc (67.7%) are the bowlers with the highest dot ball percentages (minimum 50 balls bowled).
Australia (from): David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Patrick Cummins, Xavier Doherty, George Bailey, Mitchell Marsh.
India (from): Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Akshar Patel, Ambati Rayudu.
Listen to highlights from Test Match Special's and 5 live Sport's 2015 World Cup coverage.