Sydney: Former Australian captain Ian Chappell today said Ravichandran Ashwin will get purchase from the SCG wicket and that spin would be a "big advantage" for India when they square off against the Michael Clarke-led side in the cricket World Cup semi-finals here on Thursday.
"Sydney Cricket Ground always turns. They talked about the pitch not turning much when Sri Lanka played there, but there were only slow bowlers, there were no spinners. Ashwin puts something on the ball, he will get some turn out of it. I think if India really had a high-class left-arm orthodox spinner, that could have troubled Australia. Australia have had some problems with orthodox left-arm spinners.
"I think spin bowling is a big advantage to India. I would say quick bowling, advantage Australia, batting about even. I would give this game even money at this stage," Chappell told a television channel.
The Indian bowling has made its presence felt after picking all the opposition wickets in the matches gone by and West Indian legend Brian Lara is impressed with the Mohammed Shami-led attack.
"I think it (good fast bowling conditions) is going to help the Australian fast bowlers but we can't discard the Indian pacers. They have got 70 wickets, they've bowled out every single team headed by Shami. (Umesh) Yadav and Mohit (Sharma) are also bowling well. I think the Indian attack is very well balanced and I agree with Ian that the match is very well-balanced," said Lara.
Lara opined that spin advantage notwithstanding, the Indian team will be under the pump against a side that outplayed them in all the matches in the tri-series before the World Cup.
"Australia will be going in with more confidence from the previous matches in the tri-nation series against India. Even though India at the moment are at the top of their game they are not starting off as favourites for the first time in this tournament. It's going to be a great cricket match.
"The pitch is a matter of concern and if I am the captain I will not make a decision till I get to the ground. Both teams are very well equipped in all the departments, maybe India a little more better in the spin department. Hence Australia would want to lean a little bit more on their fast bowlers," he said.
The SCG is expected to be swarmed by the Indian fans and the 45,000 odd capacity stadium may witness a sea of blue.
Even skipper Clarke has urged the home fans to turn up in large numbers. But Chappell said he has never been bothered about crowd support.
"I don't know why they are worried about the fans. As a batsman you are cocooning yourself from the crowd. (I) understand a fast bowler, like Dennis Lillee used to tell me that the crowd chanting got him going. But as a batsman it's opposite, you are putting the crowd out of your mind," Chappell said.
"I don't know why Clarke's concerned about the crowd turning up because it shouldn't make any difference to you," he added.