Australia face Windies in tri-series opener

Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kuala Lumpur: Australia, India and West Indies will hone their One-day form when they clash in a hastily arranged Tri-Nations series in Malaysia starting today.

The event, from September 12-24, will act as a warm-up for next month's Champions Trophy in India.

Australia will use the series to help fast bowler Glenn McGrath regain his fitness after a self-imposed nine-month exile to be with his sick wife.

''I think we'll try and give Glenn as much bowling as we can,'' Australian captain Ricky Ponting said.

''We need to make sure we're really monitoring his progress and try to get a fair bit of bowling into him. I'm sure he'll play the first couple of games and we'll just see how he pulls up after those.'' West Indies will look to fine-tune their game for their defence of the Champions Trophy, which starts on October7.

''We will be coming up against two very good teams and I think we have to take things in our stride,'' captain Brian Lara said.

''I think the main focus at this time is to defend the ICC Champions Trophy.

''We have got four games, maybe five if we reach the final but it is all going to be a lead-up to winning the ICC Champions Trophy -- the one major trophy that we have won in recent years.'' Australian Greg Chappell, meanwhile, says he is feeling no extra pressure at facing his countrymen for the first time since taking over as India coach more than a year ago.

''I will focus on what we need to do and plan accordingly. I am only concerned about how we play and win,'' he said.

India will be looking for much from Sachin Tendulkar who shone in practice before heading to Malaysia.

''Sachin was looking very good,'' Chappell said. ''We have no concerns about him at all.'' Australia play West Indies in the opening match on Tuesday.

The teams play each other twice before the top two meet in the final on September 24.

Australia: Ponting (capt), Jaques, Katich, Clarke, Cosgrove, Watson, Haddin, Cullen, Bracken, Johnson, McGrath.

West Indies: Lara (captain), Sarwan, Gayle, Chanderpaul, Morton, Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Baugh, Collymore, Edwards, Bradshaw, Taylor, Samuels, Hinds.

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