Bracken looms as key to quick breakthrough November 1, 2006

Australia set to target Fleming

Cricinfo staff

Nathan Bracken may be given the new ball in an effort to claim Stephen Fleming cheaply © Getty Images

Glenn McGrath could be relegated to first change as Australia set their sights on the early dismissal of Stephen Fleming in their Champions Trophy semi-final against New Zealand, according to Ricky Ponting. Fleming has scored 89, 0 and 80 in his three innings in the tournament but Ponting said Nathan Bracken and Brett Lee could be Australia's best chances to claim his wicket cheaply.

"Bracken has got a very good record against Fleming and has looked very dangerous every time he has bowled at him," Ponting told The Age. "The last time we were here, Bracken bowled very well to him. Bowling left-arm and swinging it away, there's not a lot of blokes around the world who probably do that as well as Nathan does with the new ball.

Bracken, who has dismissed Fleming twice in ODIs, could be promoted to open the bowling with Lee, who has claimed Fleming's wicket six times in limited overs games. "That could be the case that Bracken could open the bowling in this game," Ponting said.

"We obviously identify him as being probably their main batting strength. We will go all out to try and knock him over early on. Whether it's Glenn or Bracken or Lee, I'm sure they will get the job done for us."

But Australia also needed to be careful to limit the damage from New Zealand's lower order, Ponting said. "They do bat pretty low with [Daniel] Vettori probably at nine and Kyle Mills bats alright at 10. Going back a few years ago in Australia, we had them four or five or six wickets down early on in most games and they managed to scratch their way through to a total of around 200 and then give it a good shake of defending it."

Fleming said he would be looking to the out-of-sorts Lou Vincent, Peter Fulton and Hamish Marshall to lift their game against Australia. "If they get the opportunity then it's a great stage for it to come right," he told NZPA. "They've done it before. It's just a case of a bit of confidence, a bit of self-belief - the team can offer them that but they've just got to believe in themselves."