Waugh hopes to face W Indies

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The Independent Online
Cricket

Steve Waugh is expected to have recovered from an ankle injury in time for Australia's World Cup semi-final against the West Indies today.

Waugh sustained the injury during the quarter-final win over New Zealand in Madras on Monday, and it was heavily strapped during yesterday's practice.

Although they were in the nets side by side, Australia and West Indies were giving little away. Both captains, Mark Taylor and Richie Richardson, said they would not be announcing their teams until shortly before the start of the game at the SAS Nagar stadium in Chandigarh.

With both squads flying into the Punjab capital earlier in the day, they wanted to practice at the same time in the afternoon. Fortunately the spacious stadium has ample nets and the teams shared them.

No major changes are expected in either side, although Australia must be concerned at the ease with which the New Zealand batsmen scored against all their bowlers when making 286 for 9 in the quarter-final.

Paul Reiffel was hit out of the attack in that match after conceding 38 runs in four overs and Australia may be tempted to give his place to Jason Gillespie, the young pace bowler flown in as a replacement for the injured Craig McDermott. Gillespie bowled with great enthusiasm in the nets and generated considerable pace.

The West Indies might be considering a change in their batting, with Keith Arthurton suffering a miserable tournament. But after losing to India and then being surprisingly beaten by Kenya, the West Indies appear to be back to something like their normal selves and are confident of reaching the final.

"We are here to win," Richardson said. The West Indians won the group match between the sides in Jaipur by four wickets.

Mark Waugh goes into the game as the leading candidate to be player of the tournament. Not even Brian Lara can match Waugh for consistency in this competition, which has been dominated by batsmen.

Five innings have brought him three centuries (130 against Kenya, 126 against India and 110 against New Zealand) plus a score of 76 against Zimbabwe.

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