Australian Cricket Team confident of hitting back with win
AUSTRALIA captain Michael Clarke is confident his team's middle-order has got over its batting woes and there will not be a repeat of the collapse against the Kiwis in Auckland when it takes on Afghanistan at the WACA this afternoon.
The Aussies lost nine wickets for 71 runs in the one-wicket defeat to New Zealand but Clarke said the players had trained well since arriving in Perth.
"That's probably the best sign that all the boys are ready for this game," Clarke said. "I have no worries with our middle-order and I am confident we can turn things around quickly.
"I can't say we've looked too far past this game, to be honest.
"We've been pretty focused on first and foremost recovering from Auckland and then training with really good discipline in the areas individually we need to be able to perform."
Clarke said he had not been told the team for today's game but expected selectors to reveal their choices by this morning.
With Pat Cummins already confirmed to miss out with a side strain and Josh Hazlewood his likely replacement, the other big decision is where to fit in returning all-rounder James Faulkner.
Faulkner is set to return to the side for his World Cup debut after picking up a side strain of his own last month in the tri-series win over England.
Shane Watson or Mitchell Marsh are the players in danger of losing their place in the starting XI.
Afghanistan will be buoyed by its first ever World Cup win against Scotland in a thrilling one-wicket success last week in New Zealand.
Clarke said the Australians would not be taking the Afghans lightly, giving them the same respect they would any team.
"Like every team we will go through the players individually and have a look at their strengths and weaknesses," he said.
"We will look at the areas we think we can attack.
"I have watched them play throughout this World Cup.
"I think they have performed really well and I think a few of their individuals in particular have stood up and performed really well."
There was a scare for the home team yesterday with star batsman Steve Smith struck on his left hand while batting in the nets.
The 25-year-old, who has been in tremendous form this summer, iced his hand in the team's esky, before returning to batting duties.
Clarke said he wasn't worried about the injury hampering Smith today.
"Smithy got hit on the hand facing a spinner and he went back in the nets, so I think he's fine," he said.
AUSTRALIA V AFGHANISTAN
WACA, 4.30PM (AEST)