Australia consider changes for Bangladesh game

Usman Khawaja’s run-out against New Zealand was an example of “all the little things we didn’t do well enough”, coach Darren Lehmann says © Getty Images

Australia will consider bringing Aaron Finch back into the side to face Bangladesh despite Usman Khawaja‘s solid opening innings in the loss to New Zealand in Dharamsala.

Khawaja made a free-flowing 38 off 27 balls before being run out pushing for a second with David Warner, but coach Darren Lehman is sticking to the policy of flexible selection, which could see several changes made to the Australian XI in Bangalore for Monday’s game.

“[Khawaja] played beautifully, he played beautifully,” Lehmann said. “It’s not unfortunate [he was run out], he can say no. He’s just got to get better at running between the wickets, all the little things we didn’t do well enough.

“He played beautifully, but it depends. We’ve got Bangladesh in Bangalore, so work out what the best option is for that game and play it from there.”

Lehmann spoke glowingly of Finch, lauding the “brilliant” manner in which he handled the news of his omission for Australia’s opening match.

“He has been fantastic,” Lehmann said. “He has been unbelievable. We only made the final decision when we arrived. One final look at the conditions, the wicket and the weather and that’s what we decided but he’s been brilliant. Can’t speak highly enough of him.”

Lehmann echoed the sentiments of captain Steven Smith after New Zealand’s eight-run victory, blaming Australia’s batting through the middle overs for the loss but struggled to put his finger on the reason behind their poor shot selection.

“Smith, Warner, Maxwell, Marsh, the whole lot of them – they need to be smarter,” he said. “They know that. They don’t mean to play the shots they play. At the end of the day we’ve just got to be better. We had a really good start. We should close that game out. Not comfortably, but we should close it out from 1 for 50.

“I don’t know [why they didn’t play smarter], you’d have to ask them. They’re out there batting. Also understand it’s a pressurised game. It’s easy for us sitting back watching in the media box or as a coach, so it’s pressurised out there and the wicket was slow and spun and that’s what we’re going to get.

“But we’ve got to be better at finishing those sort of scenarios. As long as they learn and understand the pressures of World Cup cricket and now knock-out cricket. Basically you lose, you’re out for us. Can’t explain why we played how we played after six overs but as long as they get better at it.”

Australia’s preparations for their vital match against Bangladesh – although they consider every game to be do-or-die from here on – weren’t helped by the dreadful weather in Dharamsala on Saturday. Massive hailstorms and treacherous icy roads prevented the team leaving their high-altitude hotel as scheduled, with roads blocked and their morning chartered flight unable to land at Dharamsala airport.

While they were eventually able to reschedule travel arrangements and arrived in Bangalore in the evening, it was hardly helpful with such a tight turnaround and Australia can ill-afford any further slips in this tournament.

“Every game is a must-win when it is such a short tournament and you have to win three out of four,” Lehmann said. “You want to win the first game and get the tournament off on the right note. But at the end of the day we have still got to beat Bangladesh, we have still got to beat Pakistan we’ve still got to beat India, so you’ve got to win enough games and if you do that you qualify.

“That is the great nature of the tournament. It is so quick you haven’t got too much time to think about it.”

Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.


Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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