Australia eye semi-final
Australia coach John Buchanan believes India are not playing like their “normal selves” ahead of his team’s battle for the remaining ICC Champions Trophy semi-final spot in Mohali on Sunday.
The winners of the final Group A clash will join the West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand in the last four of the competition.
Australia and India are level on points after both losing to West Indies and beating England.
But Buchanan insists India are not on top form and performed poorly in the three-wicket defeat to the West Indies on Thursday.
He said: “I just looked at India and I thought they were a team playing on edge a bit. That’s a pretty superficial judgement, I suppose, as I didn’t see them bat.
“But I just thought they weren’t their normal selves, which could be due to the fact they like to chase (runs), they like to have an innings set up for them and chase after that.”
Australia captain Ricky Ponting is confident his team will play much better than they did against England last weekend.
The Aussies secured a six-wicket victory over their rivals, but Ponting is backing his team to produce a better performance after a decent week’s training.
“I think we will be better prepared for this game than we were for the second one against England because we’ve had a week to keep working and training in these conditions,” he said.
“The conditions we faced in the first game (in Mumbai) were nothing like what we’ll be seeing here, it’s going to be much faster and a lot bouncier, which will be good for us.”
The world champions are expected to select the same team that beat England, with Shane Watson given the all-clear after a bout of gastritis earlier in the week.
But batsman Michael Clarke may miss the clash due to illness, with Simon Katich on standby.
India are facing an injury crisis ahead of the crucial clash with the Australians.
Fast bowler Ajit Agarkar was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament after breaking his left thumb while fielding against West Indies in Ahmedabad, while Munaf Patel is also doubtful with a wrist injury.
And batsman Yuvraj Singh will be missing with a knee complaint.