Australia coach expects aggressive cricket in India series next week

Published: January 8, 2016
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The Perth game will be the first time top-ranked Australia have faced India since beating them in the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup in Sydney last March. PHOTO: AFP

The Perth game will be the first time top-ranked Australia have faced India since beating them in the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup in Sydney last March. PHOTO: AFP

PERTH: Australia’s upcoming one-day campaign against India should be as feisty as ever, said coach Darren Lehmann on Friday, adding that the aggression factor would be a good challenge for his young squad.

Asked about the mood of the five-match ODI series, which gets under way at Perth’s WACA ground on Tuesday, Lehmann said he expected it would be “the same” as previous ones.

“They [India] are playing an aggressive brand of cricket as well so I don’t see that changing over the next five games,” he told reporters in Perth. “India play the same way, so it’s going to be an exciting series.”

Matches in the past have seen tempers flare, with umpires intervening in Adelaide in 2014 as players exchanged terse words and pointed fingers at each other.

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The Perth game will be the first time top-ranked Australia have faced India since beating them in the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup in Sydney last March.

Lehmann said he was sure his 13-man squad — including uncapped fast-bowlers Scott Boland and Joel Paris — would handle the situation well given their experience with big crowds and the pressures of domestic T20 cricket.

“They’ll be used to that now, which is a good thing for us,” he said. “International cricket is another step up for them, but I’m sure they’ll handle it well. It will be a good challenge.”

Lehmann said he was hoping for “a good, fast, bouncy track” in Perth ahead of matches in Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. “They [India] are a good one-day side, they made the semis of the World Cup — they’re a quality side,” said the coach. “So from our point of view, we’ve got to play well and start well against them.”

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Need to win away from home: Smith

Australia captain Steven Smith believes the real challenge for his team is to win a series abroad and they will have to master the swinging ball if they are to succeed in their tour of New Zealand next month.

Smith and his men ruthlessly dominated the three-Test home series against West Indies, winning it 2-0 after the rain-hit final match ended in a draw in Sydney on Thursday. “We’ve always played quite well at home but the challenge for us is to make sure we’re winning series away from home, and that starts with a tough series for us in New Zealand,” said Smith.

After this month’s limited over home series against India, Australia tour New Zealand and Smith warned the conditions would be difference across the Tasman.

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“Hopefully we can adapt to the conditions we’re going to face in New Zealand. I daresay they’re going to have a bit of grass on them and are going to swing a bit. So we have to be better than we have been previously on those sort of wickets and hopefully we can adapt well and have a successful tour there.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2016.

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