MELBOURNE: For the second time in recent weeks, feisty opener Virender Sehwag accused the Australians of running scared of the resurgent Indians here.
As he did during the fourth Test in Adelaide, which ended in a draw as Australia won the series 2-1, Sehwag said the home side was frightened of losing to the Indians.
The two sides renew their at times hostile rivalry at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday in a tri-series one-day international.
Their previous tri-series match was washed out just when it was poised for an exciting conclusion, with Australia struggling at 51 for three chasing India's 194 in Brisbane last Sunday.
Sehwag said here Saturday that the Australians knew India were the greatest threat to their undisputed status as the best side in the world, again pointing to his team's shock win in the third Test as proof the gap was narrowing.
He said the Indians were confident they would have won out in Brisbane if rain had not intervened and were out to make a statement in Sunday's game.
"They know India is the only team that can beat them, so we are preparing hard for that and hopefully we'll do well," he said.
"We've prepared ourselves for tomorrow's big game and if we beat Australia then maybe we're through to the finals.
"Nobody else beats them here, so that's why maybe they are scared and a little worried about the Indian team.
"This team has the potential to beat Australia in Australia, so it's a big game for us, Australia tomorrow."
India have to buck the recent trend to win Sunday's game.
They have won just four of their last 25 one-day internationals against Australia, with 17 losses and four no-results.
The ledger is even more lopsided in Australia, with India having won just two matches against the home side since 1986.
The Australians have won 15 of their last 17 home matches against India, with just one Indian win.
Despite that poor record, Sehwag said the young Indian squad was full of potential and capable of an upset.