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Tim Paine's truth bomb for Australia ahead of India challenge in World Cup final

India could look to exploit Australia's apparent weakness in Sunday night's World Cup decider.

Pictured left to right, Tim Paine and the Aussie team at the World Cup.
Tim Paine has identified areas the Aussie side will need to improve on ahead of the World Cup final against India. Pic: Getty

Former Australia captain Tim Paine has highlighted an area his countrymen will need to improve on to have any chance of toppling India in Sunday night's Cricket World Cup final. Pat Cummins' Aussie side booked their place in the tournament decider against the host nation after a nervy three-wicket win over South Africa in the semi-final in Kolkata.

Australian quicks Mitchell Starc (3-34) and Josh Hazlewood (2-12) laid the foundations for victory with a blistering spell of bowling in the opening power play against the Proteas. The pair had South Africa 4-31 after 13 overs after the Proteas won the toss and batted under gloomy skies in Kolkata.

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Cummins chipped in late on to finish with figures of 3-54, while Travis Head took two key scalps in South Africa's middle order to go with his half century (62 off 48) to claim man-of-the-match honours. Despite bowling out South Africa for 212, it was an anxious finish for the Aussies who had raced to 0-60 before the South Africans resorted to spin and it sparked an Australian batting collapse.

Aiden Markram removed David Warner (29) with the first ball of spin that Australia faced, while Mitch Marsh came and went without troubling the scorers. Head was then bowled through the gate by Keshav Maharaj (1-24), Marnus Labuschagne was out lbw trying to reverse sweep Tabriz Shami (2-42) on 18 and the left-arm wristspinner also bowled Glenn Maxwell for one.

The Aussies clearly struggled against the Proteas' spin and although Cummins and Starc got them home with the bat, former captain Paine said it was definitely an area of concern heading into Sunday's final. The Indians will have been watching Australia's struggles against the turning ball in Kolkata closely and Paine says it's an area Australia coach Andrew McDonald will need to address.

“For the Aussies, one big issue they need to get right is their play of spin,” Paine told SEN Tassie Breakfast. “Last night they were 3/64 off 20 overs against a quality of spin that is only going to go up a gear in the World Cup Final. At one stage we were 2/106 then fell to 7/193. We lost 5/87 in the middle 25 overs, and if we do that against India, the game is going to be over.”

Sene here, David Warner getting out against South Africa in the World Cup semi-final.
David Warner was the first of the Aussie batters to fall to South Africa's spin in the World Cup semi-final. Pic: Getty

Aussies bounce back after losing first two matches

Paine says the Aussies have done tremendously well after being written off in some quarters having lost their opening two matches of the World Cup - against India and South Africa. The pace attack for the Aussie side has also come into question this tournament but Paine said they stood up superbly against South Africa after struggles in the power play across the tournament.

“There were plenty of people saying, ‘We’re in some trouble here’, and we looked like we were,” Paine said about Australia's back-to-back defeats. “But they have righted the ship beautifully from that third game onwards.

“I still think there are a few concerns that India will be all over us with, but there were some promising signs last night, particularly the new ball. We’ve spoken about our inability to get new-ball wickets and I thought last night, whilst the conditions suited and South Africa actually won the toss and batted... it did do enough for us.

“When it does do enough, there’s no better exponents than Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Starc and Pat Cummins. I thought that was a huge positive. To have them 4/40, we have not been able to do that at all."

India's batters pose massive test for Australia

Paine warned the Aussie pace attack will have to be on song again in the final, such is the quality of India's top order. In-form skipper Rohit Sharma has led from the front and been arguably India's most valuable batter with the way he's been able to set up innings by taking it to opposition bowlers in the opening power play.

The Indians have averaged just under seven runs per over across the first 10 overs of their World Cup matches, with Rohit invariably setting the tone. He's been ably supported by Shubman Gill as well as the tournament's highest run-scorer Virat Kohli (711 runs from 10 matches) and the big-hitting Shreyas Iyer.

“If we’re going to restrict an Indian side with the talent, the power and the depth that they have to anything under 350, which is then chaseable, you’re going to have to knock over Rohit, Virat, Shubman Gill, or at least two of those, in the first 10 overs," Paine said. "Otherwise you are chasing a huge total.”

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