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Finch warns England that Aussies savour pressure


Relaxed mood: Aaron Finch and Australia during a training session
Relaxed mood: Aaron Finch and Australia during a training session

By Rory Dollard

Aaron Finch has heaped the pressure on England by reminding the World Cup hosts of Australia's unrivalled tournament record.

Pre-tournament favourites England have never won a World Cup, despite reaching the finals in 1979, 1987 and 1992, while Australia have lifted the trophy on five occasions.

Australia take on England at Lord's today fully aware that inflicting defeat on their fierce rivals would leave Eoin Morgan and company sweating on semi-final qualification.

And captain Finch jumped at the chance to reassert Australia's winning mentality.

"I think that in World Cup history, Australia have had a very good history of peaking at the right time," said Finch. "Over a lot of that history, Australia have played their best cricket under the greatest pressure.

"And that's a good lesson for everyone, the fact that we've got six guys in our squad who were part of the 2015 World Cup win is really valuable.

"We're going in with a lot of confidence no doubt, we've been playing some really good cricket.

"But the team that holds their nerve the longest and under the highest pressure will succeed."

Australia also boast two former World Cup winners among their coaching staff, something England cannot match.

Ricky Ponting tasted success three times in the tournament, captaining the side in 2003 and 2007, and Brad Haddin was part of the 2015 triumph.

Finch admitted the advice of both decorated coaches permeates deep through the current Australia squad.

"We've also got Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin with us, as coaching staff who have won World Cups as well," said Finch.

"So it's just about the shared experience of what you might feel in a knockout game or a high-pressure game.

"It's going to be a great day, a great spectacle and great to be a part of.

"Those experienced guys can almost share what you might be feeling, so you can almost be prepared for it before you're in that situation. That's invaluable."

England captain Morgan has remained unmoved in the face of suggestions the pressure is increasing on the hosts.

He rejected any notion of nerves in his side's surprise losses to Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and insisted the three big tests against Australia, India and New Zealand offer plenty of scope to secure a semi-final berth.

"Guys have performed under pressure for a long time, they have performed as favourites in series for the last two years," said Morgan.

"I've no questions of us performing under pressure. I don't think nerves played a part at all."

Finch does expect England to hit back hard against Australia in a bid to atone for their shock Sri Lanka defeat.

"They tend to bounce back and go ultra aggressive, so we're ready for that," said Finch. "We're expecting them to come out and go ultra-hard."

Meanwhile, England captain Morgan has issued a warning to Australian pair David Warner and Steve Smith that they will not be "accepted back into the cricket community straight away".

Morgan insisted he will not give supporters any instructions on how to treat the two batsmen, who are back in action having served bans for ball tampering.

Rejecting the idea of giving orders to the crowd, Morgan said: "I'm not expecting anything. I think fans and supporters up and down the country will have different reactions, as they will around the world. So we'll see.

"Supporters pay a lot of money. And sport is beautiful in many ways, because it attracts people from far and wide.

"And you often see crowds offering support to both sets of players in the grounds."

Morgan also warned Warner and Smith they will not be welcomed back into cricket's fraternity with open arms, despite returning to international action.

"You don't know how sports fans will react," said Morgan, who revealed England opener Jason Roy would miss the match through injury.

"Just because two guys have been punished, served their punishment and returned to play, it doesn't mean they will be accepted back into the cricket community straight away. It will take time."

Belfast Telegraph


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