'India can be dangerous tomorrow'
Aus captain Ricky Ponting cautions his team, saying the hosts could be "most dangerous" when pushed to the corner.cricket Updated: Oct 13, 2007 20:06 IST
Australian captain Ricky Ponting on Saturday cautioned his teammates against complacency ahead of the sixth one-dayer against India, saying the hosts could be "most dangerous" when pushed to the corner.
"The last game was more like a semi-final and this is probably a proper final where the series is on the line. We can stitch the series up if we win this game," Ponting said.
"But this is where India can be at their most dangerous as well. They have nothing to lose. They can come out and just enjoy the game without probably a lot of pressure on them. That's when most teams can be pretty dangerous. We are aware of that and we will have to make sure we start the game well on Sunday," Ponting said on the match eve.
Ponting said though the tourists had put up their best show in the previous game they cannot afford to get carried away.
"It's a venue where we have played a couple of games. One was a pretty good Test win (2004-05), which clinched the series. It's a big game for us on Sunday. If we win, we clinch the series," he said.
"The last performance was the best part of our series so far. It was a very comprehensive win. But we can't get carried away. We are working very hard. We will go out there and try to improve and play and brand of cricket that we know we are capable of," he said.
Ponting said there was some doubt regarding the fitness of opener Matthew Hayden and he will undergo a fitness test a few hours before the match.
"Maddie has done a little bit of work at the ground. He was a bit sore coming to the ground. He's improved dramatically over the last couple of days."
"He did a little bit of walking and jogging along the boundary line. We're going to give him time till Sunday morning. If he's fit he will play and if he is not then Brad Haddin would be brought in to play," Ponting said.
Hayden strained his hip while going for the second run during the team's thumping win at Vadodara and batted for a runner before getting out for 29.
Ponting said there won't be a change in the team unless Hayden fails the fitness test Sunday morning.
"The balance of our team is pretty good. With Mitchell Johnson bowling the way he did in the last game and Brett Lee bowling the way he has done through the series there's no way that we can get any of the other fast bowlers into the team.
"The batting line-up has been doing a pretty good job as well. We are happy with the balance and push forward with the same eleven if Hayden is fit," the Tasmanian said.
Ponting said one of the strengths of his team was the ability to play well in different corners of the world.
"One of our strengths is the ability to play well in different conditions all around the world, whether it's South Africa, England, Sri Lanka or India our one-day form has been pretty good. That's probably one of the areas where we have the edge over most teams," he said.
Ponting praised bowling coach Troy Cooley, saying he knew and understood the conditions in India as he had toured with the England team and having been in Nagpur for a couple of stints with the Chennai-based MRF Pace Foundation.
"He knows what fast bowling is about and has helped all our guys tremendously and Mitchell Johnson will be the first one to put up his hand and say Troy has been a very big influence on his career so far," the Australian captain said about Johnson's five-wicket haul at Vadodara that flattened India.
Ponting said he could not say about whether Rahul Dravid had been feeling the heat or not but complimented Aussie bowlers for sticking to a game plan and implementing it perfectly against the top Indian batsman and scorer of over 10,500 runs.
"I don't know if he's under pressure or not. I know we have bowled very well to him so far, if you look at his dismissals. We have got him out like you probably expect to get top order players out. He's a class player and class players don't stay away from scoring too long."
"But we need to keep him under pressure and make sure we execute our game plans exactly right. If we don't and give him a chance to get off the mark and get away then you will see how good and dangerous player he can be," he said.
The former India skipper who has had a horrid run with the bat mustering only 44 runs in four innings so far and he has also been dismissed for no score twice in the four innings he has batted.
First Published: Oct 13, 2007 19:21 IST