|Ground:||Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth|
|Scorecard:||Australia v Pakistan|
|Event:||VB Series 2004/05|
DateLine: 30th January 2005
Pakistans volatility and the self-belief of the West Indies are the unknown factors facing unbeaten Australia as they head towards the tri-series finals, Australia's vice-captain Adam Gilchrist said.
Gilchrist, who will rejoin the Australian team for their final qualifying match against Pakistan at the Western Australian Cricket Association Ground on Sunday, said both teams had the ability to upset the host nation.
Australia have already qualified for the best-of-three-finals which start next Friday but their opponents will be determined by the result of the final round-robin match between Pakistan and the West Indies in Perth on Tuesday.
"Its really difficult to know who would be the more difficult opponent," said Gilchrist, who will open the batting for Australia against Pakistan after a weeks rest.
"If (captain Brian) Lara fires well the West Indies are capable of absolutely anything.
"Theyre still capable of a lot if Lara misses out as weve seen a few times whether its this year or over in the West Indies.
"And Pakistan are just so unpredictable -- theyve got real danger men.
"I dont think were able to say one or the other would be a more suitable opponent and weve never functioned like that.
"Well get our momentum right and see who we have to front again next Friday."
Both Pakistan and the Windies have only one win apiece in the round-robin series but the West Indies were well on track to beating Australia in their second match in Brisbane when play was washed out by heavy rain.
"I think everyone knows we were probably going to go down in Brisbane but rain saved us so who knows what a loss there would have done (to us) -- or a win for the West Indies," Gilchrist said on Saturday.
He said the outcome of Sundays match would not effect who Australia played, but it could have a psychological bearing for the other two teams leading into Tuesdays decider.
Pakistan in particular had endured a long and unsuccessful tour of Australia, losing their test series 3-0 and struggling in most other matches.
"I think any tour you are weary by the end of it. I would imagine that a tour of Australia must be very demanding physically and mentally. It would be a tough tour," said Gilchrist.
"I guess that opens up the opportunity for them (Pakistan) to be a bit dangerous - it could potentially be a win-win scenario for them.
"If they win the couple of games and get in the finals thats all positive. If they dont, they go home.
Gilchrist, known for his ability to make huge scores quickly with the bat, said the West Indies had shown during the series that they were a team to be reckoned with.
Apart from Lara, left-arm swing bowler Pedro Collins, who took 3-8 against Australia in the washed out match and a career best 5-43 last Wednesday, was the base for a dangerous bowling line-up.
"Pedro has been around for a while. The public out there probably think theyre an inexperienced bowling line up because they dont know the names," he said.
"But those guys have been going around for a long while. They know their craft and they know how to execute well and I think thats been a real positive for them," he said.
Neither Australia nor Pakistan will finalise their line-ups until Sunday, but the Australians are expected to stick with out-of-form opener Matthew Hayden to partner Gilchrist while dropping talented youngster Michael Clarke down the order.
Damien Martyn is also expected to rejoin the team after a short break while paceman Brett Lee looks set to keep his position on the traditionally bouncy WACA wicket.
Australia (from): Ricky Ponting (c), Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Darren Lehmann, Michael Clarke, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath, Shane Watson, Simon Katich, Brad Haddin.
Pakistan (from): Inzamam-ul-Haq (c), Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Yousuf Youhana, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Azhar Mahmood, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Iftikhar Anjum, Taufeeq Umar, Yasir Hameed, Younis Khan, Mohammad Khalil.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)
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