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Aussies seek repeat of World Cup final

Aussies hope to silence boisterous Indian fans with an attacking game in today's final match of TVS-Cup.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2003 12:50 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Seeking to repeat its victory over India in the World Cup final, Australia hopes to silence India's boisterous fans at home with an attacking display in Tuesday's title encounter of the limited-overs cricket tri-series.

Australia is the overwhelming favorite after beating India in four out of five one-day encounters this year, including the World Cup final in March.

The Aussies also want to avenge a shattering test loss in their last appearance two years ago at Calcutta's Eden Garden, considered to be one of the world's most intimidating venues because of the noise created by the crowd.

Storming into the tri-series final with five wins in six league matches, Australia is feeling the heat ahead of the title contest in front of an expected crowd of 120,000 fans.

"We're aware that we'll be playing in a hostile environment and not too many spectators will be rooting for Australia, but we know how to keep the crowd quiet," said Australia skipper Ricky Ponting. Indeed, his team has proven its ability to smash any opposition, securing successive World Cup triumphs in 1999 and 2003. "Playing at Eden (Garden) is a very different proposition," said Australian coach John Buchanan, alluding to the 2001 test where his team's 16-match winning streak came to a dramatic end.

"It's one of the great cricket venues of the world. With India in the final, it's going to be a great event," said Aussie vice captain Adam Gilchrist.

Gilchrist recalled the last time Australia played in Calcutta. "I remember the atmosphere when we last played here. It was a great experience, but the memories aren't too pleasant," said Gilchrist, who was out for a duck in both innings, but goes into Tuesday's final after scoring a century in the last one-dayer.

Ponting said his players were excited about playing here from the moment Indian captain Sourav Ganguly told him to "expect a crowd of 120,000 if India advanced to the final."

"It's an experience they want to relish," he said. In the three league encounters with India, Australia lost the first one by 37 runs, but struck back to post huge wins by 77 and 61 runs in the subsequent two games.

"We're taking a lot of confidence with us going into this match because of the way we've played against India in the last two matches," said Ponting.

"I understand the dew comes into play here. The track will play pretty good early on, but after that batting might get tougher," he said. "At the same time, the dew late in the evening might negate the advantage of batting first.

"Whatever we do first, we must do it well," he said. Star Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar poses the biggest threat, having produced scores of 100, 68 and 89 in three league matches against the Aussies. Tendulkar warmed up for the final with 102 against New Zealand _ his 36th one-day century.

India's captain Ganguly will undergo a fitness test before the toss to determine the condition of his groin strain, which kept him out of the field for most of the match in Saturday's 145-run victory over New Zealand.

"I think I'll be OK, my injury's healed a great deal," Ganguly said late on Monday, expressing confidence of playing the final at his hometown.

First Published: Nov 18, 2003 11:37 IST