IPL: Indian Premier League 2009

Australia push to keep up momentum


harrisMatch Facts
Friday, January 29, WACA
Start time 1230 (0430 GMT)

The Big Picture
Australia’s victory in Adelaide decided the series and consigned the two matches in Perth to dead-rubber status. But like most dead rubbers, there remain several individual storylines to keep the fans interested. Can Australia make it a 5-0 whitewash? Is there anything Mohammad Yousuf can do to save his captaincy? Can Ricky Ponting find form after yet another missed pull brought him a duck in Adelaide? Will Ryan Harris make himself a permanent ODI player or was his five-for a one-off? And will the Perth fans turn up to two games in three days, neither of which has any bearing on the series result?

Pakistan could be forgiven for feeling browbeaten after losing all three Tests and all three one-dayers so far. But this could be their best chance of getting a win on the board on this trip. Australia have taken the opportunity to rest Shane Watson, who over the past six months has been so important to Australia that he has been not only their leading ODI run scorer but also their top wicket taker. Doug Bollinger is also taking a break but Mitchell Johnson returns to the squad having sat out of the first three games. Australia will be keen to keep up their winning form with five ODIs against West Indies just around the corner.

Ponting will be hoping for a big personal effort after his misjudged-pull-lbw on Tuesday. He has come under fire for getting his cross-bat strokes wrong this summer but he said he was not worried about the trend. “Not at all. I’m not worried about getting a short ball from Rana, that’s for sure,” Ponting said. “The first couple that I faced I actually felt the ball bounced quite normally. The one I got out on I felt it didn’t bounce … as much. “I felt it was pretty much the same length as the last two. The last couple of games I’ve felt I haven’t scored quickly enough. I wanted to be a bit more positive and put it back on the bowlers a little bit more and as it turned out I made a zero.”

Form guide (most recent first)
Australia WWWNW
Pakistan LLLLL

Watch out for…
Shaun Marsh has made plenty of runs at his home ground, the WACA, over the past few years. But at international level, his only two appearances there have brought scores of 5 and 15. Marsh is in promising touch, having scored 41 and 83 in the past two games and without his opening partner Watson the Australians will be looking to him for a strong start.

Salman Butt has been Pakistan’s most consistent batsman over the past month. He was on the way to another anchoring innings in Adelaide when he was sent packing for 34 thanks to an atrocious lbw decision. A good start from Butt will be one of the keys if Pakistan are to get a victory on the board.

Team news

Australia will make at least two changes, with Bollinger and Watson to be rested from the remaining two ODIs. Johnson will take Bollinger’s position and James Hopes is the logical replacement for Watson, as a fellow medium-pace allrounder, which means Adam Voges is unlikely to break into the team unless a middle-order man like Michael Hussey or Michael Clarke is rotated out. There are several options as to who could open with Shaun Marsh in Watson’s absence but the most likely is Brad Haddin, who has done the job 13 times in the past year for an average of 46.58. The success of Harris in Adelaide could encourage the selectors to be cautious with Peter Siddle’s back soreness and give him extra time to recuperate.

Australia (possible) 1 Shaun Marsh, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 Cameron White, 6 Michael Hussey, 7 James Hopes, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Nathan Hauritz, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 Clint McKay.

Mohammad Aamer is likely to be left out of the final two games with a groin problem that also kept him on the sidelines in Adelaide. Fawad Alam showed enough fight to keep his place ahead of Shoaib Malik and with the series lost, there is no reason not to give Rao Iftikhar and Khalid Latif a run, neither having played yet on this tour. But trying to predict what the Pakistan selectors will do is an unrewarding task.

Pakistan (possible) 1 Salman Butt, 2 Kamran Akmal (wk), 3 Younis Khan, 4 Mohammad Yousuf (capt), 5 Umar Akmal, 6 Fawad Alam, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Mohammad Asif, 11 Saeed Ajmal.

Pitch and conditions
The WACA usually provides runs in abundance and in three of the past five one-day internationals there, the team batting first has posted 280-plus. The players will need plenty of drinks breaks: the forecast for Friday is very hot and sunny with a maximum temperature of 37C.

Stats and trivia

* Australia have won 54% of their ODIs at the WACA, which is their second-lowest winning percentage of any ground in Australia. Their only worse venue is the Gabba, where they have won 46%
* Australia are enjoying a purple patch and have won 21 of their past 26 ODIs. By contrast, Pakistan have won 11 of their past 26

“We are trying to make the opposition feel as uncomfortable as we possibly can and win all the games we play.”
Brad Haddin

“I try my level best but I think this is the best team in the world to play against. I think we play good cricket, not bad cricket.”
Mohammad Yousuf
Source:Cricket News

Image Source:Cricinfo

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