Australia may have won all six tosses on their tour of England but they have come away with little else following defeat at Edgbaston in the one-off T20I on Wednesday (June 27) which followed the 5-0 drubbing in the ODI series.
Despite the best efforts of captain Aaron Finch, who made 84 from 41 balls, Australia fell short once again after England had posted a mammoth 221 off their 20 overs thanks to Jos Buttler, who made England’s quickest ever half-century off 22 balls, and an equally rapid 49 from Alex Hales.
Finch admitted his side have experienced some harsh lessons on this trip and felt some of the squad may have been underdone coming into the tour. “It’s been a really good learning curve for some of the young guys, especially coming off a bit of a break,” he told Sky Sports after play. “We’ve had four months since the end of the season back home, so for them to walk straight back in and perform against the best in the world, you can’t come in 1% off the boil. They will learn a lot about their preparation, you have to hit the ground running otherwise it’s a long road.”
Finch gave credit to England’s batsmen for the intent they showed early on in racing to 70 for no loss at the end of the first six overs, the second-highest powerplay score England have ever made. “We could have been better obviously,” he said of his bowler’s performance. “I thought the way England came out and put our young bowlers under pressure early was the way they have been playing all summer and doing it very successfully. Looking back, could we have gone a little bit more attacking early [to try and take wickets]? It’s hard to say.
“When the ball’s flying around everywhere, your plans sometimes go out the window and you go with a little bit of gut feel. Mitchell Swepson [2-37] on debut showed the value of a legspinner and someone who can really give it a rip.”
Finch took charge of Australia’s T20I side in Birmingham after Tim Paine had led the team during the ODI series. It was made clear when Paine was appointed to that role in the aftermath of the ball-tampering incident in Cape Town that he had the ODI captaincy for this tour and that the position would be reviewed afterwards.
Following a lean time with the bat during the 5-0 defeat, head coach Justin Langer has admitted that Paine needs to “play his best cricket in white-ball cricket” to keep the captaincy and admitted the selectors could be forced to look elsewhere.
Should Paine be replaced, Finch would certainly be a leading candidate to take over. “If the role is there, I’d love to do it,” he said. “At the moment, Tim is the captain and he led the team fantastically well. It was disappointing that we couldn’t back him up with performances as a team. His leadership around the group was second to none. If he’s got the job, things are going to be good for Australia.”
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