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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • james on March 25, 2015, 7:19 GMT

    Sorry 5 finals for 4 wins with the 5 appearances being from the last 7 world cups. A pretty good record for a side some here have implied are shaky in knockouts.

  • james on March 25, 2015, 6:38 GMT

    VYSEERX2 invincible no but 4 world cups and 6 finals from 10 cups is a pretty good resume. For what its worth i think it will be desperately close with our batting line ups evenly matched. Game will likely be on a flat wicket as scg has tended to be in recent times. I think but am by no means confident given indias quality and the fact that anything can happen in knockouts that our bowling is better and more versatile and will get us over the line particularly with home ground advantage. JUST.

  • james on March 25, 2015, 6:08 GMT

    Indian fans begging for a seamer be careful what you wish for. Our pace attack despite your bravado is clearly better and our batting is at least on par if not better and we bat much deeper due to our tail. This showed in the eng game where we got to 342 from 3 for 70 and friday where we got the 216 for 4 ftom 3 for 59. Your lot dont do too well against the moving ball either and are more suspect against the bounce on offer due to your players love for hitting through the line and those glides to 3rd man which work on subcontinent pitches but are dangerous on bouncy wickets. For what its worth i think it will be played on a flat pitch like scg pithes of recent years and will be a close game fought between 2 quality sides with the aus edge in bowling making there slight difference.

  • HARSH on March 23, 2015, 18:14 GMT

    @Mustafa Rehmanji, Although that may not happen I agree with you in principle. To me you indulge in sledging because you really don't have what it takes to dismiss a batsmen with your bowling alone so you have to mentally unsettle them. A true great is the one that lets the ball or bat do the talking rather than use underhand manner to gain advantage.

  • Richard Bambery on March 23, 2015, 18:08 GMT

    What and leave all the sledging to Kohli that would not be fair

  • ESPN on March 23, 2015, 15:45 GMT

    How about asking Australia not to resort to SLEDGING, and try to play the game fairly. Cricket should be played on skill and talent and then may be see the best team winning.

  • Dramit Singh on March 23, 2015, 6:21 GMT

    Looks like the the pressure of the big semifinals has started to haunt the aussies.Thats good actually because its surely gonna help india.Comments have started to flow from the aussie camp regarding the Sydney pitch.l don't think any sort of pitch is gonna bother team india because of the great form they are in.We all indians can only say go india go.Bring it on aussies.

  • Ani on March 23, 2015, 5:49 GMT

    @VYSEERX2: Absolutely agree with you! Also, this Australian team is far from the BEST of Ponting's!! They are surely beatable side now!!

  • Dummy on March 23, 2015, 5:42 GMT

    I think shacky performance by Aussies against Pakistan will boost indian bowler's confidence. Considered one of the weakest by some but lok at the stats what's turn around, Shami 3rd best bowler, all pacers touching 140's, middle overs ashwin and jadeja not letting players run away..any thing can happen on the day..maxwell, starc are the X factors need to see them off cheaply..

  • Mitch on March 23, 2015, 4:45 GMT

    Geeze!! We hope we could go off with grassy deck.. Same we got for Ashes, didn't we? Keep your fingers cross, mates!!

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