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Clarke backs Warner to behave, Johnson leads battle cry

By AFP, Sydney
26th-Mar-2015       
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Australia captain Michael Clarke expects temperamental opener David Warner to be on his best behaviour in Thursday's World Cup semi-final against India, but Mitchell Johnson is ready to step up the sledging war.
Warner, who has already been warned twice for on-field verbal sledges, faces suspension from the final, should Australia qualify, if he is found guilty of another misdemeanour at the Sydney Cricket ground.
"David will be fine," Clarke told reporters on Wednesday. "He knows the rules, as we all do, and his rules are no different than the rest of ours."
But fast bowler Johnson said he did not expect any let up in Australia's aggressive approach, and was even willing to take the lead if Warner did not sledge.
"I heard Davey (Warner) say he was not going to get involved in all that stuff," Johnson told Fox Sports. "Someone has got to do it and I think I might put my hand up. It's part of the game."
The two teams have shared a tumultuous relationship both on and off the field in recent years and another flare-up cannot be ruled out in a potentially explosive semi-final.
The bad blood showed up during India's Test and one-day series in Australia prior to the World Cup when heated on-field exchanges led to several players being penalised.
Three Indian players, Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, and Australian left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc were charged for a breach of the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct.
Warner was reported both in the Test and one-day series, and was publicly told off by Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland to "stop looking for trouble."
Meanwhile, Clarke did not expect the SCG wicket to throw up any surprises, saying it will prove to be a good cricketing pitch.
There is growing speculation that the dry, brown wicket will suit India more than the home team's fast bowlers, but Clarke appeared unconcerned by the pre-match talk.
"I think the SCG in general is a really good wicket for both both batting and bowling," the Australian skipper said.
"The fast bowlers will hopefully get a little swing and a little bounce out of that wicket and then as always spin will play a part.
"But the SCG is as good a place to bat as anywhere in the world. I am confident this game will be no different."
Clarke also rubbished suggestions that the toss will prove crucial since batting first could be an advantage on the wearing end-of-the-season pitch.
"Whatever you do first, you have to do it well," he said. "I don't think it (the toss) matters too much in a one-day game.
"Sometimes wickets in Australia can be better to bat on second, because you get a little bit of dew, and the wicket and the outfield quicken up.
"Then there is the other side that people always talk about -- runs on the board in big games. We are going to do both at some stage, we just have to do them well."
India have beaten Australia just once in 35 years in a one-day international at the Sydney Cricket Ground and the hosts have won all six semi-finals they have contested since the inaugural event in 1975.
Australia will start as favourites, but Clarke insisted the expectations from home fans will not put undue pressure on his side.
"Expectations will be there because we are the number one one-day team in the world," he said. "The reason you have that expectation on you is because you've performed."
Organisers expect Indian fans to outnumber their Australian counterparts at the the 42,000-capacity SCG, but Clarke said the support for the home team will not be any less.
Asked if there will be more Indian fans at the ground, Clarke said: "That's a no-brainer. I think we know they will.
"But that's fine. We have played in India a number of times and they out-support us there as well. It's a fantastic feeling to have the opportunity to play in your own backyard and to play in Australia."

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