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Oz begin the test of invincibility

cricket Updated: Feb 20, 2011 23:40 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
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A hattrick of World Cup titles, an unbeaten run of 29 matches spread over 1999, 2003 and 2007 editions and their world No. 1 ranking in ODIs notwithstanding, Australia go into this edition grappling with a fair number of negatives.

It started with the humiliating Ashes defeat at home and, although they thumped England 6-1 in the ODI series, the dice has not exactly rolled their way. They’ve lost Nathan Hauritz and Michael Hussey to injuries while losses to India and South Africa in warm-up games have compounded matters.

PONTING UPBEAT

But Ponting is putting up a brave front. “We were not the favourites in 2007 either (following defeats against England and New Zealand going into the event). Who is the favourite and who is not, these things don't bother us at all," he said on the eve of their opening group A match, against Zimbabwe.

“We're here to play the best possible cricket. A lot of hard work has gone into our preparations and the real stuff starts now. We want to start the process tomorrow," he said.

SKIPPER DEFENSIVE

It was ironical that the only player in history to have played four World Cup finals and won two as skipper had to say that he was not looking back. “We've maintained a very high standard in ODIs in the last three-four years, at home and away. But we don't think about what happened in the past. We look at what lies ahead.”

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