In-form Aussie openers up against SA pace attack

Watson and Warner will look to continue their impressive run against Steyn and Morne Morkel.



Colombo: At the top of the order, there is perhaps no scarier pair in world cricket today than Australia’s two Ws — Shane Watson and David Warner.

With a victory already under their belt, the opening batsmen will look to sew up their semi-finals spot against South Africa here on Sunday. But standing between them and their destination will be the best new-ball combination in the world.

Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel couldn’t prevent Pakistan from getting over the line on Friday, but if there are two bowlers who could get into Australia’s untested middle-order in a jiffy, it’s these two. And Aussie skipper George Bailey is wary of the Proteas batting too, despite their disappointing performance against Pakistan.

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“South Africa are an outstanding team. It will be an interesting game in the way the two teams set up and how they play. When we used the short ball against India, we were pretty smart about how we used it. If (our pacers) are bowling a bouncer that is on the money, it is still going to be pretty hard to get away,” Bailey said.

Spin has dominated matches in Colombo so far, but Bailey believes in fielding his best bowlers, regardless of the type. “If your best bowlers are quick bowlers, you still bowl your best bowlers. They have to find ways to adapt. Even as the wicket turns a bit more, I think the quicks will be able to have an impact. Whether later on the track, we need to start using Xavier Doherty as well - I guess that is something we will look at,” he said.

Regarding Watson winning man of the match awards in all three of their games so far, Bailey said: “I think he’s really set himself to be the man of the tournament, to be the person who leads Australia as far as he can in this tournament.”

Proteas skipper AB de Villiers admitted he had missed a few tricks against Pakistan, but his team would be desperate to shed the ‘chokers’ tag and make the final four.

“It was great game of cricket. I’m proud of the way we fought back. We lost it in the last five overs,” he said.

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