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Cricket World Cup: Spinning wicket foxes Australia

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011
Dates: 19 February-2 April Venues: India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
Coverage: Highlights on BBC TV, Red Button & BBC Sport website (UK users only); Live Test Match Special commentary (BBC 5 live sports extra, BBC Sport website, some games also on BBC Radio 4 LW) and live text commentary on all England matches and selected other major games; Also live on Sky Sports
India v Australia scorecard (external site)

Sreesanth and Ricky Ponting square up in a feisty exchange
Sreesanth and Ricky Ponting square up in a feisty exchange

Ricky Ponting said he was hoping for "better" wickets during the World Cup proper after Australia collapsed to defeat in a warm-up against India.

The Aussie skipper top-scored with 57 on his return from injury but Australia finished 38 runs short of their target of 215, despite reaching 118-1.

The Indian spinners got busy in the middle overs, Piyush Chawla the star with figures of 4-31 from nine overs.

Ponting said: "It was hard to bat on right through the day. It spun a lot."

Having been absent with a broken finger during the Aussies' 6-1 trouncing of England in the recent one-day series, Ponting showed no ill effects, keeping his team on course for victory while others perished to Chawla's leg-spin and India's number one spinner Harbhajan Singh (3-15).

There was also a wicket apiece for fellow spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh, with only one nine overs, and a single wicket shared by three seam bowlers.

In order to ensure players are given maximum opportunity, teams are permitted to use any 11 batsmen from their 15-man squad, and any bowlers.

Australia elected to leave out Brad Haddin, Steve Smith and Shaun Tait altogether, while India left experienced duo Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan on the sidelines.

India won the toss and had Virender Sehwag (54 from 56 balls) to thank among some indifferent displays from the other recognised batsmen.

Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla
Harbhajan and Chawla proved an effective combination

It all looked a little embarrassing at 138-8, until the in-form Yusuf Pathan (32), plus Ashwin (25 not out) and last man Ashish Nehra (19) hauled them past 200.

Although India's spinners were to encounter great success later on, Jason Krejza, the sole Australian specialist slow bowler picked, had to settle for figures of 1-56.

Openers Shane Watson and Tim Paine each passed 30 in a confident start to the Aussie chase, and Ponting picked up the baton smoothly. But as soon as Paine fell to Yuvraj, life became very awkward for the World Cup holders as one Indian spinner after another - with Chawla the pick of them - weaved their magic under the floodlights.

Ponting said: "Hopefully as the tournament goes on, we will get better wickets than this one. This one looked a bit under-prepared.

"But we know that as the tournament goes on, we could get wickets like this and we will have to find a way to do well.

"It was nice to spend time in the middle. I had three or four training sessions before this game and it was nice to spend time out there."

India captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni, who made two sharp stumpings, also reckoned the wicket was a little bit too spin-friendly.

He said: "It will be difficult to chase anything over 230-odd on such kinds of tracks. I would be pleased if the wicket turns slightly less in future matches. Piyush has a good googly and nowadays we see that the umpires give more lbws.

"Sachin will definitely play the next game [against New Zealand on Wednesday]. The Chennai crowd love him. As for Zaheer, he has a minor groin strain so we will have to wait and watch."

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see also
Sunday's Cricket World Cup gossip
13 Feb 11 |  Cricket
England out to win Cup - Strauss
13 Feb 11 |  England
Gillespie slams 'whinger' Hussey
11 Feb 11 |  Australia
Axed Hussey shocked by decision
09 Feb 11 |  Australia
Sreesanth called into India squad
08 Feb 11 |  India
Hussey & Hauritz out of World Cup
08 Feb 11 |  Australia
Cricket World Cup history in pictures
14 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup warm-up matches
16 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011 squads
19 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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