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'The short ball has been Australia's best strategy against India'

October 22, 2013 09:58 IST

'The short ball has been Australia's best strategy against India'

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All-rounder Glenn Maxwell says there will be no let-up in Australia's strategy of targeting the Indian batsmen with short-pitch deliveries when the teams square off in the fourth one-dayer in Ranchi on Wednesday. 

"I think the short ball has probably been our best strategy so far. I don't think we're going to change our strategy too much. We thought we bowled pretty well (in the last match)," Maxwell told reporters.

"Unfortunately, Dhoni went off at the end and played brilliantly. I thought we bowled really well last game.

"It felt like we sorted out a few of their batsmen. Hopefully, they've got a few worries in their camp. We're feeling pretty good at the moment," he said.


Photographs: BCCI

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'Hopefully we get a little bit more assistance with the ball'

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Australia's bowling spearhead, Mitchell Johnson, used the short ball successfully against the Indian middle-order and sent the hosts on the backfoot in the third ODI in Mohali before returning figures of 10-1-46-4.

The visitors, who lead the series 2-1, won the Mohali match by four wickets, riding on James Faulkner's match-winning innings. 

The Australians now take on India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in his home town at the JSCA International Stadium Complex. Dhoni played a captain's knock of 139 under trying conditions to set up the third one-dayer.

Talking about their plans against him, Maxwell said, "I think we had pretty good plans to him in the last game, though a couple of things didn't quite go to plan. I think we dropped a catch, one ball that just cleared mid-off. 

"If we take those chances, I think we're chasing 260-270 and we finish that game a lot earlier. I felt like our plans were very good. We shut him down early. We made him face a lot of dot balls at the start of the innings. Hopefully we get a little bit more assistance with the ball here and some spin as well, we can really put a lot of pressure on him. 

"It's going to be very loud. The crowd is going to love it when MS comes out and tries to do his thing again. Hopefully, we can shut that down and keep the crowd as quiet as possible," he said.


Photographs: BCCI

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'I've been in good form for the past six or seven months'

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Maxwell has been contributing with valuable knocks in the middle order to help Australia to big totals – although he scored only three in the last game. 

Speaking about his approach to batting, Maxwell said, "I think playing in South Africa for the A-series helped my game a lot. The wickets were pretty favourable for batting, so it was good to spend a bit of time in the middle. Over the last couple of years I haven't really spent a whole lot of time in the middle. 

"It was nice to work on my batting over there for an extended period of time. It ended up working pretty well for me because that led straight to back to England and then the Champions League. I felt like I've been in good form for the past six or seven months. Hopefully that continues," he added. 

The Aussie batters have been consistent with runs but they are yet to notch a hundred in the series.

Asked about the absence of an individual century, he said, "No one made a century even in the game we had scored 359 but we had our top five make 50s and that's the first time in cricket history. I think it just shows how well the team is playing as a whole. Even though no one has got a 100 yet everyone has played pretty well.

"The guys obviously want to post three figures but even if they're not and we're getting the job done I think we're very happy with the way we're going."


Photographs: BCCI

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'I was in good company at the Mumbai Indians'

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The series has seen high-scoring totals, with the Aussies not intimidated by the hostile crowd atmosphere and Maxwell said they were lucky to play the IPL and Champions League which was good preparation for the series. 

"Definitely. We're very lucky that we've got the opportunity to play in the IPL and the Champions League where you get used to these crowds. When you come over here you're not overawed by it. It's just another day at the office. It's very enjoyable playing in front of the big crowds in India." 

Maxell said he has learnt a lot in the august company of Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting as part of the Mumbai Indians franchise. 

"We had Punter, Sachin and a few of the legends of the game in our team. It was nice talking to them. I just soaked them up for everything they had. It was a very enjoyable time. 

"A lot of guys go for big money in the IPL, it's very lucrative... I wasn't alone. There were a lot of other guys that went for similar amounts of money. I was in good company at the Mumbai Indians," he added.


Photographs: BCCI

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'George is a very confident captain'

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Maxwell was all praise for stand-in captain George Bailey, who is leading the side in place of an injured Michael Clarke. 

"George has obviously been an excellent captain for Tasmania back home and he's done very well. He's won tournaments for them and he's brought that straight into Australia. He's a very confident captain. He's always very upbeat in the field. 

"He's good to talk to with the bowlers. He's very calm. And especially when he's making runs... He's been such a consistent performer over the last 18 months. It's great to have him doing well at the top and being one of our best performers, not just our skipper. 

"He's been brilliant for the group and has really settled into Pup's (Clarke's) shoes really quickly. As much as we're going to welcome Pup back it's been great to have Bailey as skipper for this series."


Photographs: BCCI

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