Cricket: Aussies smiling ahead of West Indies clash

The lively nature of Friday night's pitch at Colombo's Premadasa Stadium for the England-Afghanistan game will bring smiles to the faces of Australia's pace bowlers for their World Twenty20 Group B clash with West Indies on Saturday night.

Skipper George Bailey has given his quicks a licence to pitch short against Caribbean master blaster Chris Gayle.

Shane Watson and Mitchell Starc claimed five victims between them in Wednesday's win against Ireland, including Watson's breakthrough with a bouncer from the first ball of the match.

Teenager Pat Cummins is also expected to dig them in against the Windies.

"If we can target their helmets a little bit maybe that's a way we can force them to change their plans," Bailey said on Friday.

Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard are three of the Windies' big hitters for whom Bailey is making grand plans.

"They are good strikers of the ball and the dimensions of the ground and our pace bowlers means one of the keys for our game plan will be making them hit balls into areas they don't like," Bailey said.

"Most of their strikers like to hit the ball down the ground. They like to target mid-on and mid-wicket so if we can force them to hit into different areas that might change up their game plan.

"It's a good sized cricket ground. Strong batters can still clear the ropes but mis-hits are generally being caught on the fence.

"Watto's tone the other day really set us up. His bouncers were right on the money and it was probably as quick as he's bowled in a while too.

"We were aggressive with our body language, aggressive with our bowling and the way Davey Warner and Watto (60-run partnership) started our batting innings was aggressive."

Bailey is hopeful veteran left-arm wrist-spinner Brad Hogg is cleared to play after missing training on Thursday and Friday with a headache and flu-like symptoms.

Starc, who was rested from Thursday's session with a gastro complaint, was able to bowl in the nets on Friday and is expected to play.

Offspinner and middle-order batsman David Hussey and left-arm finger-spinner Xavier Doherty are contenders to replace Hogg if he's rested while Clint McKay, who bowled well in Australia's two warm-up games, is a possible replacement if Starc is ruled out.

- AAP

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