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01-Oct-2009 16:06:00 GMT
Australia v England, 1st semi-final, Centurion

Eng vs Aus 1st Semi-final - Australia Eye Final Berth

Centurion: Having sneaked into the semi-finals with a last-ball victory over Pakistan, Australia will have to plug their batting loopholes when they take on their traditional rivals England in the first semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy here tomorrow.

Chasing 206 against Pakistan, Australia's middle order collapsed from a comfortable position before they struggled their way to the semi-final and skipper Ricky Ponting will have to ensure his men do not repeat the same mistakes.

Australia had recently registered a convincing 6-1 victory over England in the ODI series in England and Ponting will hope his team draws inspiration from that series and comes up with a similar performance tomorrow.

"We had a very good series against England over there but its different conditions here and I think they are playing really good cricket. We have to make sure we play well in the next match on Friday," said Ponting.

On papers, Australia does not seem to have any chink but yesterday's match showed their vulnerability to quality bowling specially at the end overs.

Australia's top order has so far fired in unison with Tim Paine, Ponting and Mike Hussey leading the way for the team.

England, on the other hand, had an unbeaten run before New Zealand spoilt their party in their last match. Although skipper Andrew Strauss had blamed the bad pitch for the debacle, he will have to ensure their batting doesn't crumble again against the Aussies.

Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah have been the leading run scorers for England but skipper Strauss himself has not been among the runs. However, Ravi Bopara and youngsters Eoin Morgan have showed enough sparks.

Among the bowlers, Stuart Broad have claimed 10 wickets in the tournament so far to grab the second place in the most wicket-taker's list, while at the fourth place is his compartiot James Anderson with seven scalps.

However, England lacks a quality spinner as Graham Swann have so far looked a shadow of himself and skipper Strauss will hope he comes good specially if the centurion track gets slow and starts turning.

Head 2 Head

  England Australia
Ranking 5 1
Captain Andrew Strauss Rickty Ponting
Coach Andy Flower Tim Nielsen
Highest Total chased
England won by 6 wickets on May 24 1997
Target Chased: 269
Australia won by 4 wickets on Sep 15 2009
Target Chased: 300
Most Prolific Batsman
Graham Gooch (1395 Runs)
Ricky Ponting (1343 Runs)
Highest Individual Score
Robin Smith (167 Runs)
Dean Jones (145 Runs)
Best Bowling Analysis
5/28 by Graeme Swann on Sep 20 2009
7/20 by Andrew Bichel on Mar 01 2003
Most Prolific Bowler
Ian Botham (35 Wickets)
Glenn McGrath (53 Wickets)
Head to head
Total Played 100, Australia 58, England 38, Tied 2, No Result 2
Current Form LWWWL WLWNW (recent last)

Team news

England have concerns over Stuart Broad, who has a torn buttock muscle. He went for a scan and appeared in discomfort while the team trained in Centurion. If he misses out it will probably mean a recall for Graham Onions or Adil Rashid.

Squad (likely): Andrew Strauss (capt), Joe Denly, Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, 6 Matt Prior (wk), Luke Wright, Stuart Broad/Graham Onions, Graeme Swann, Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson.

Australia have David Hussey has been called into the squad, but it would be asking a lot for him to play straight away. Australia are likely to retain the balance they used against Pakistan and will know what to expect from conditions. But David Hussey replace opener Shane Watson because continue fail.

Squad (likely): Shane Watson/David Hussey, Tim Paine (wk), Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Hussey, Callum Ferguson, Cameron White, James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Nathan Hauritz, Peter Siddle.

Pitch and conditions
England scored 323 on an excellent batting surface against South Africa, but the pitch for the previous game between Australia and Pakistan was a tough one for run-scoring. The thunderstorms have stayed away since the Australia-India game and the last thing a semi-final needs is rain.

Stats and trivia

  • Just in case anyone forgot - because it was a long time ago - Australia beat England 6-1 in the series that finished two weeks ago.
  • However, the last time these two met in a global semi-final England came out on top in the 2004 Champions Trophy, at Edgbaston, where the home side eased to a six-wicket win. Michael Vaughan believed that result laid the base for the following year's Ashes victory
  • Australia, though, can point to the last Champions Trophy, in India, when they cruised to a six-wicket victory in Jaipur during the qualifying stages. England produced one of their well-rehearsed batting collapses as they fell from 83 without loss to 169 all out.

Match facts
Friday, October 2, 2009
Start time 14:30 local, 12:30 GMT, 13:30 Eng, 20:30 Aus

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