As much as Australia’s bowlers were panned by Steven Smith for their looseness in the opening match against New Zealand that was ultimately wrecked by rain, the vice-captain David Warner admits the top order batsmen were similarly out of rhythm in the early overs of a curtailed chase.
The early English summer will not always suit an Australian side heavy on pace and power but not always so adept at nuance, something demonstrated by how Warner, Aaron Finch and Moises Henriques made early exits in the face of diligent New Zealand bowling before showers enveloped Edgbaston.
Ahead of a match against Bangladesh that Steven Smith’s men must now win to avoid early elimination, Warner said the batsmen needed to strike a better balance than the one seen in his wild swish at a wide ball. Finch and Henriques then mistimed catches in front of the wicket.
“There were, I think, a few rushed overs there especially in the first 10 [overs]. We probably didn’t allow ourselves to actually pick off the ones and twos and play normal cricket shots,” Warner said. “We tried to heave it a bit too much and wait for the bad ball too much I think. And as we know with New Zealand how they are, they are very disciplined in their line and length. They made us play a different kind of way to how we usually play. And from my stance, me and Finchy, I think we were a little bit disappointing.”
Warner said he and Finch had walked out to bat with a very aggressive mind-set, something that was then exploited by the discipline of New Zaland’s attack. The bowlers of other nations, most particularly Bangladesh and England, will have taken note.
“Initially that was what me and Finchy were talking about, making the most of that seven overs [in a rain-shortened chase],” Warner said. “After the first two overs we knew it was going to be a little bit difficult.
“We just knew that if you hit the right length on that wicket, the wicket would do its course. It would hold up a fraction. They bowled with a wobbly seam, we tried to swing the ball, when it didn’t swing we went straight to cross seam. On the flip side of that, when you are facing a wobbly seam it can do something.
“But they just hit their right lengths and made us play the shots. So, credit to them. And we tried to hit the ball too hard. I tried to move around the crease a little bit but found myself in some situations probably trying to muscle the ball a little bit too much, and Finchy said that as well.”
The early wickets brought Henriques to the crease at No. 4, ostensibly in place of the injured Mitchell Marsh, but ahead of not only Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head but also the unselected Chris Lynn and Marcus Stoinis. Warner pointed to Henriques’ strong recent IPL displays as evidence he deserved the chance.
“Obviously Steve had the thought process that Mo has been batting well enough to bat in that role. I look at his IPL, and I played with him, he was hitting the ball unbelievably,” Warner said. “To give him credit, the last 12 to 18 months his technique has gotten very good and he’s had the capability and strong performances on the board for New South Wales to warrant that selection.
“His one-day numbers have been fantastic in the Matador. He’s used to playing on wickets coming in when it is swinging. And credit to him, he’s been able to do that and lock that down for New South Wales, and he’s been given that opportunity by the selectors here and Steve to play at number four for us.
“I think you saw a couple of those pull shots he played, he’s been working on that for a while as well. And his all-round game is fantastic at the moment so hopefully, he can keep continuing his success and hopefully not too many inside edges onto the pad.”
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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