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Sunil Gavaskar advises India to bat first and post a big total

Sydney: Former captain Sunil Gavaskar tipped Australia as favourites to win Thursday's high-voltage cricket World Cup semifinal against India but said Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side can beat the hosts if they bat first and put up a big total.

"Australia are favourites because they have psychological advantage of having beaten India in all the matches the two sides have played in all formats in recent times. I understand that World Cup is a different ball game altogether but I still feel that Australia have got the advantage," Gavaskar said.

"My heart says India but my mind says Australia are the favourites. If Australia bats first then India will struggle.

India can win only in case they bat first and put up a big total, say 290-300," he added.

Gavaskar played down the presence of retired leg-spin legend Shane Warne at Australian team net session at the SCG today, saying India need not worry on that front.

"Indian team does not have a leg-spinner. Australians will not be facing a leg-spinner. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are completely different bowlers. So, that will not be too much of an issue," he said.

The former Indian captain said that India will have to tackle both Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell well if they want to win tomorrow.

"Finch, Warner and Watson have not been in best of form.

But Steven Smith has been consistent and Maxwell is the guy India will have to watch out for," Gavaskar told a leading english news channel.

West Indies batting legend Brian Lara differed from Gavaskar and tipped India to win tomorrow's semifinal as he said the conditions at the SCG would suit Dhoni's men.

"SCG suits Indians more than anywhere else in Australia.

A batting pitch and a bit of spin, that should suit the Indians. I will put my money for India. I hope my favourite player Virat Kohli comes out and score a century," he said.

"Indian bowlers must be aggressive and attack in-form Steven Smith. Australia lacked a specialist fifth bowler and they struggled against Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz. Indian batsmen should exploit their weakest bowler," he added. More PTI PDS AT

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