Centurion: Out-of-form India go into Saturday's World Cup clash against Australia as rank underdogs, a tag captain Saurav Ganguly believes will work to his team's advantage. It's not a bad thing really, the pressure's off and we can do our own thing," Ganguly said ahead of the high-profile group 'A' match against the reigning champions at the Supersport Park. "If we play as well as we are capable of, anything can happen. We can surprise a lot of teams, including Australia."
India has played below its potential in recent times with the star-studded batting line-up, led by world record holder Sachin Tendulkar, performing in fits and starts. "We're up against a side that has the potential to make a lot of runs," said middle- order batsman Darren Lehmann, who is available for selection after serving out a five-match suspension due to racist comments made against the Sri Lankans last month.
"It's been good for us to play a quality side like Pakistan first. They are up and down like yo-yos. "They are sometimes really good, sometimes bad and India have sort of fallen into the same category in the last six months. "But India are a very dangerous side and one we will be wary of. We will have to play well to beat the Indians." India is banking on the unusually slow and dry wicket to assist its frontline spinners, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. "Slow bowlers will definitely have a big role to play against Australia," Ganguly said.
"And we have two of the best in the business." Off spinner Harbhajan captured 32 wickets in three Tests against Australia two years ago, while leggie Kumble returned to form with 4 for 32 against The Netherlands. Lehmann admitted the slow Centurion wicket could work in India's favour. "It probably suits them more than normal South African pitches," he said. "But having said that you've still got to play well. We've won in India before and they've won some games in Australia." If Tendulkar, One-day cricket's leading batsman and a thorn for Australia in the past, is a worry for the champions, Lehmann did well to hide it.
"You've got to get 10 blokes out, he is just one of those guys," Lehmann said. "But obviously he's an exceptional player. His record speaks for itself and he's played well against us." Tendulkar will once again open the batting, like he did against the Dutch, in a bid to give India a rousing start in the initial overs. His 52 on Wednesday made him the highest scorer in World Cup history, adding to the record number of runs (11,598) and centuries (33) in Limited Overs cricket. India, however, need the other batsmen like Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Ganguly himself to fire if Australia is to be given a fright.