World Cup 2015: Australia March 21, 2015

Australia's pitch battle with SCG

Josh Hazlewood on SCG groundsman Tom Parker: "He didn't do us any favours in the Test match there so we'd obviously like some grass on it to suit our quicks" © Getty Images

Even if it was dished out by both sides, the fire and brimstone of Adelaide is the way Australia would like to be playing the game in Sydney during Thursday's semi-final against India. That's if the capricious SCG square gives them the chance to do so at the end of a long season.

The Adelaide drop-in pitch had a liberal coverage of grass and was also speedy enough to have edges carrying, while the short balls delivered by Wahab Riaz seemed occasionally to gain speed after pitching, so skiddy and venomous they were. 

Josh Hazlewood had taken first advantage of the surface, using swing, seam and bounce in equal measure to pluck 4 for 35, and he is hopeful that the SCG pitch will offer the sort of grass coverage seen for England's meaningless pool fixture against Afghanistan, as opposed to the dry deck presented when the hosts met India in the New Year's Test and Sri Lanka in their more recent Cup fixture.

"He didn't do us any favours in the Test match there so we'd obviously like some grass on it to suit our quicks, it would help us them having a couple of spinners and us favouring the quicks so definitely be good," Hazlewood said of the SCG groundsman Tom Parker. "Was quite windy, didn't know what end to bowl from but wicket was quite good for most of the game. Quite easy for the batter, once our guys got in made it look pretty easy, it was a good wicket."

Having seen off Pakistan, Hazlewood expects plenty of pressure to be placed on the Australian bowling attack by India, now operating with far more confidence, poise and vigour than they did during the Tests and triangular series.

"They've obviously played in a lot of big tournaments and a lot of their players have been playing for a while," Hazlewood said. "So they've got that experience in big tournaments and I think they really peak at the right time so they'll be really tough work on Thursday.

"We've obviously played them a lot this summer in both formats so I'd say we'd have the wood over them a little bit in that regard winning the tri-series so we'll just be doing our normal homework and doing our thing and getting prepared."

Hazlewood has been engaged in a duel of sorts with his NSW team-mate Pat Cummins across the tournament, playing the first game against England at the MCG then losing his place for New Zealand in Auckland and getting it back again for the Pakistan fixture. While understanding that the selectors view the pair as offering different attributes, he is hopeful of now making the spot his own for the pointy end of the tournament.

"I hope I've gone a long way to doing that but you never know with the conditions at the SCG they could be dry and suit a spinner so you never know but just got to try and take your opportunities," Hazlewood said.

"I bowl a lot up front with the new ball and try and swing it around and take a few early ones and Pat I think you can use more in the Powerplay and at the end with his change of pace with his yorkers and bouncers so obviously got a bit of extra pace and he can use them at those different times.

"I was obviously pretty happy with how I bowled straight up with the new ball and got most of my overs out then but I was happy to come back through those couple of other spells and take wickets and really keep the ball rolling I guess and keep them to what we did."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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