ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Australia v Canada, Group A, World Cup 2011, Bangalore

Australia not looking to experiment against Canada

The Preview by Sriram Veera in Bangalore

March 15, 2011

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Match Facts

March 16, Bangalore
Start time 14:30 (09.00 GMT)

John Davison practices ahead of his final game for Canada, World Cup, Bangalore, March 15, 2011
John Davison could open in his last match for Canada © AFP

The Big Picture

As Ricky Ponting was leaving the press conference, a scribe offered a friendly bit of advice: "Please bowl first, mate." Ponting turned, smiled and said, "Ha! Bowl first eh?" before gliding out of view. Despite Ireland's commendable performance, and two honourable fights by Canada and Kenya, Australia taking on an Associate still makes people wonder how long the game will last. A tired journalist's view is, "Canada bat first, get bowled out for a paltry score, let the chase be done with and let's hit the pub". It's a view that might be shared by Australian fans too, though they might want to see the spinners do a better job, and Ricky Ponting hit form with a big innings. The underdog fan might want a minor miracle. What about the players?

Ashish Bagai, Canada's captain, was asked a direct question about it: Will Canada try to play 50 overs and be satisfied with the honor earned in doing that? If he found it condescending, or realistic, Bagai didn't show it. He just laughed a laugh that was open to interpretation before saying, "This is our last game. We will like to end it with a win. We will try doing that".

For his part, Ponting said, "The time for experiments is over. We have three games in a week's time before the quarters and we want to be playing at our best. We are looking to win tomorrow's game comfortably."

For Canada this is as big as it gets. It is their final appearance on this stage before they disappear for four more years, and maybe more, depending on the ICC's designs for 2015. It is also John Davison's last game and Canada are thinking about the possibility of sending him to open. It will also be the last sighting of Bagai, a fabulous wicketkeeper, and Balaji Rao, a legspinner who has dared to flight, drift, and turn, something uncommon in the bigger teams.

Australia's 33-match unbeaten run in World Cups is unlikely to end tomorrow but they have to iron out a few wrinkles. Ponting's form hasn't been too flash and he knows it. "I would have liked to score more runs in the game against Zimbabwe but was run out. The other games too were the same. Getting 30 or 40 is not what you are after; you have to make big scores. Since we have not played too many games, we are out of touch." The spinners haven't set the world on fire as Ponting said the other day. Their batsmen will also be tested by Rao.

Form guide

(most recent first)

Australia: WWWWW

Canada: LWLLL

Watch out for...

Bagai's wicketkeeping: MS Dhoni is the best at stumpings and Kumar Sangakkara is solid all round but Bagai has looked the most fluent and natural keeper in the competition. He is quick on his feet, uses soft hands, has a wonderful anticipation, and oozes confidence when he stands up to the medium-pacers. Of course Canada rarely get close to winning, and so we will never know how good Bagai is in pressure situations, but there is enough skill to make you watch him keep.

After Shahid Afridi, Balaji Rao has to be the one of the best legspinners out there. While Afridi snares his victims with sliders and variations in pace, Rao tries to treat your senses. The slow amble to the crease, the ripping release, the courage to flight, the ability to get it to drift, and the turn he can extract, makes him a neat package to watch.

When Brad Haddin is at his best, he reminds you of Damien Martyn, especially when he unfurls that silky drive through extra cover. The problem is he suddenly changes into Shane Watson. For a man who can time the ball so well, he often goes hard at the ball and tries to crash it up and over the field. Perhaps he still sees himself as a wicket keeper-batsman, whose job is to score quick runs, rather than a top-class batsman. Ponting urged him to convert his starts and that's a sign that the captain wants Haddin to have higher ambitions.

Pitch and conditions

The pitch is the same one on which Australia played Kenya. So it is bound to get slower and aid turn. It will be interesting to see how the Australian batsmen fare against the spinners.

Team news

Considering the workload in playing three games in quick succession, Australia are likely to rest Shaun Tait and give John Hastings a go.

Australia (probable): 1 Shane Watson, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 Cameron White, 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Steven Smith, 8 John Hastings, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Brett Lee, 10 Jason Krejza

Canada (probable): 1 Hiral Patel, 2 John Davison, 3 Zubin Surkari, 4 Ashish Bagai (wk), 5 Jimmy Hansra, 6 Rizwan Cheema, 7 Ruvindu Gunasekara/Parth Desai, 8 Harvir Baidwan, 9 Khurram Chohan, 10 Henry Osinde, 11 Balaji Rao

Stats and trivia

  • Ricky Ponting is only player to have scored 1000 World-cup runs as a captain. He is the second after Tendulkar to score over 1600 runs in World Cups.

  • Ashish Bagai is third captain-wicketkeeper to score fifty on two or more occasions in the World Cup. Kumar Sangakkara and Alec Stewart are other two.


"We don't have any time to worry about experimentation and getting our skills right. It's about going full steam and playing the brand of cricket that holds good in bigger games"
Ricky Ponting stresses Australia won't take this game lightly.

"Balaji Rao has done really well for us in this tournament, right from the warm-up games. He brings great value in the dressing room too and mentors the other young spinners."
Ashish Bagai on his strike bowler.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 43 
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Posted by Bruce on (March 16, 2011, 10:24 GMT)

This might be a slight confidence booster for Aus, but I still don't see them advancing past the QF stage on current form.

Posted by Lalith on (March 16, 2011, 10:03 GMT)

I heard in the ABC radio in the morning that Ponting said that he needs his players to be very aggressive in this match. So he wins the toss he would bowl first get Canada out quickly and finish the match within few overs. It looks to me Canada is aggressive as they scored 77/1 in 10 overs. Canada 50 runs in 29 balls.

Posted by Cricket Fan on (March 16, 2011, 9:16 GMT)

John Davison played very well in 2003 wc. He made a half century and a century against NewZealand and West Indies. As we as Kenya played well in 2003 wc and reached in semi final. But after that they didn't get to play against ODI against best 10 countries.If John Davison get more ODI he may be more popular like other popular players. All the best John Davison .

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 16, 2011, 8:34 GMT)

@ Sachin_is_da_Best... Well monsieur, better bother about India instead of criticizing Aus. Just to remind you, India have only won against minnows in their group. They lost to SA and barely tied against Eng. Who knows what happens against WI? And still they are so called favourites? I can help me laughing

Posted by Michiel on (March 16, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

I dont cach the team selector thing. cant figure out how to get into it.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 16, 2011, 7:47 GMT)

@Sachin_is_da_Best. I agree with mansel your comments are desperate mate. We'll win this easily, I don't think you'll find any realistic Aussies absolutely sure we'll win the WC, my money is on Sth Africa IMHO they deserve it, but has beens and humiliated we are not - we have been the best team overall for a record number of years. BTW what are the so called weaknesses. You obviously have your interests in group B so ponder this, Sth Africa's weakness was their middle order which collapsed against England but stood up to India and shined against Ireland. Mate top teams such as Australia know how to turn weakness into strength if and when required. Sweet dreams mate.

Posted by Udesh on (March 16, 2011, 7:40 GMT)

Quarter final line up will be as following -

1. Australia / West Indies 2. Sri lanka / England 3. Newzealand / India 4. Pakistan / South Africa

Semifinal Line up -

1. Australia / India 2. Srilanka / South Africa


1. Australia / South Africa

Winner - South Africa

Posted by Shankar on (March 16, 2011, 7:07 GMT)

Krejza was actually the 4th choice spinner.

Hauritz - Injured. Doherty - Injured O'Keefe - Injured

So I think that is the reason to the guy who talked about O'Keefe, that's the reason he ain't in the CWC.

Posted by indy on (March 16, 2011, 6:57 GMT)

Australia is ok.........but not good enough..

Posted by sohaib on (March 16, 2011, 6:50 GMT)

although Australia is winning with ease all the matches yet the time of test has not come for them, they never have never been tested by the quality spin bowling yet. so if they are against any quality side in quarterfinal and batted second they will lose like they have already lost to India in a warm up match. thanks to rain for not being allowed them against srilanka in the pool match. javed karachi

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