Australia vs India contest will be intense: Faulkner

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Sydney, March 23 (IANS) Australia all-rounder James Faulkner on Monday said he expects the intensity of Thursday’s India vs Australia cricket World Cup semi-final to match the vigour attained in the Tests and One-Day-International (ODI) tri-series prior to the mega event.

“It is going to be a really tough contest and both teams I suppose won’t be backing down. You are going to see two very good teams coming up against each other in a couple of days’ time and it should be a very good spectacle,” the left-arm pacer was quoted as saying by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) website.

The 24-year-old said that in Thursday’s semi-final, no team will back down and he expects a bit of sledging to happen during the match.

“Sledging is part of the game and if there isn’t some, you’ve got problems. It is the semi-final and it is going to be cut-throat and there are going to be words said,” Faulkner said.

India had a disappointing summer in Australia when they lost the four-match Test series 0-2, followed by an even more disastrous ODI tri-series, where they failed to win even a single match.

But in the ongoing mega event the same team has gone on to register seven wins in a row in their march to the semi-finals.

Faulkner was appreciative of it and felt India’s long stay in the country has helped them get used to the conditions, which has translated into impressive performances.

“We have come up against them a hell lot in the last 12-18 months and they have spent a fair bit of time in the country and adapted well to the conditions,” the right-handed batsman said.

“There is no surprise that they are up against us in the semi-final. They are a very strong team and I think we are as well. It is going to be a great contest.”

Faulkner said India will be a hard nut to crack on Thursday.

“I am not at all surprised that India is doing well. Every time we have come up against them it has been a very good game of cricket and it has gone right down to the wire,” he said.

“They are a good opposition and we are looking forward to Thursday. I think it is going to be a great occasion.”

Talking about nerves before the big match, he said, “I think everyone is going to be nervous in their own little way and it is up to them how they want to deal with it. Both teams are exposed and if you don’t have nerves, you have got issues.”

The all-rounder also expected it to be a high scoring game, though he reiterated it was too early to comment on the pitch.

“The wicket was very good when we played against Sri Lanka. It was a great one-day wicket and I am expecting a lot of runs scored.

When India and Australia have played in the past there have been lots of runs on offer and it will be no different come game day,” Faulkner concluded.

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