Australia v Bangladesh, Group A, World Twenty20, Bridgetown May 4, 2010

Australia expect pace and bounce in Barbados

Cricinfo staff
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Australia's coach Tim Nielsen is confident the Kensington Oval pitch will favour the team's fast bowlers when they take on Bangladesh on Wednesday. However, the chances of Australia taking an extra fast man in to the game have diminished with Mitchell Johnson in doubt due to an infection in his right elbow.

There had been a possibility that Australia would name Ryan Harris to join Johnson, Dirk Nannes and Shaun Tait in a powerful pace attack, at the expense of the spinner Steven Smith. However, Harris appears more likely to replace Johnson with the Australians hesitant to risk their most experienced bowler with their path to the Super Eights almost assured.

"[Johnson] could probably play if it was the World Cup final tomorrow, but there's a lot of the tournament to go," Alex Kountouris, the team physio, told AAP. "We just want to make sure we knock it on the head and get it right. It's not affecting his muscles or his joint itself."

The surfaces in St Lucia and Guyana have proven sluggish over the past week but the Australians always felt Barbados would provide more pace and bounce. "The conditions in Barbados will suit our quicks," Nielsen said, "so I hope they've been practising against fast bowling."

Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, conceded that an all pace attack was not a bad idea against his team, who prefer facing up to slower men. However, Siddons was not convinced that Barbados would provide as much zip and carry as the Australian squad anticipated.

"It'll be quicker than most other wickets, definitely quicker than St Lucia," Siddons said. "But it's also spinning and that will suit us. Firing away with four quicks is probably a good plan against Bangladesh but it can also backfire if the wicket's not as fast or bouncy as they think it might be. We've played practice matches here. There's nothing lightning quick about it."

Bangladesh must beat Australia to have any chance of progressing to the Super Eights. They would need to win by enough to pass Pakistan on net run-rate, while a much bigger victory would be required for Australia to drop below Pakistan and out of the tournament.