Ponting does Malinga research
Australia are bracing themselves for a tough baptism from fast bowler Lasith Malinga as they attempt to become the first side in history to win the World Cup three times in succession.
The reigning world champions face Sri Lanka in Saturday's final at the Kensington Oval looking for their 23rd successive win in World Cups and stretching their unbeaten record to 29 games.
But if they are to achieve that, they believe they must first get through a tough examination from Malinga and his sling-type action with the new ball which is reminiscent of Australia's Shaun Tait.
Captain Ricky Ponting and the senior batsmen spent Friday practising with bowling coach Troy Cooley trying to replicate Malinga's unusual action in a desperate attempt to minimise his effectiveness.
"Malinga's action is pretty unique and I've been doing a bit of top-up work on my skills," admitted Ponting. "It's an attempt to get some sort of simulation about what you're going to come up against in the game.
"We haven't played a lot against Malinga, but we've all had a chance during this World Cup to have a good look at him.
"I watched him pretty closely against New Zealand the other day and he bowled very well with the new ball and had most of their top order batsmen in trouble."
Ponting stressed: "He will be a key with the new ball and that sort of wicket will probably suit him as well with a bit of extra pace and some good bounce and carry.
"We've got to play well against him, but they have a number of really good bowlers who can be dangerous on their day and it's about us starting the game well.
"If we happen to bat first we certainly have to pay some attention to their opening attack and hopefully get through that new ball."
The final also marks the last appearance of Glenn McGrath after an illustrious 14-year career, while coach John Buchanan is also set to end his long association with Australia.
"There is no doubt we're going to miss Glenn," admitted Ponting. "He's one of the all-time greats of the game and what he's been able to do for Australian cricket over such a long period of time is unbelievable.
"I don't mind saying I shed a tear at the last Test at the SCG this year when he played his last game and Shane Warne had played his last Test and Justin Langer was the same.
"When he's done and dusted there will be lots of good memories and hopefully there's another great memory we can take from this game and give both Glenn and John the appropriate send-off."
He added: "I think that wicket will suit us and the way we play and what we're brought up on. What we know about those sort of conditions will hold us in good stead.
"The preparation has been absolutely perfect. The guys are all fit and very excited and we're looking forward to getting the game under way."