Bats must fire up to back ‘exciting’ attack
AUSSIE captain Tim Paine has backed his batch of bowlers and their variety-filled bags of tricks to trouble England in Cardiff after an opening game loss at The Oval.
But he also knows his batsmen need to find a way to combat spin and post a number to defend after the touring top five failed to fire in the three-wicket defeat.
England captain Eoin Morgan declared he sensed a weakness among the touring side against his slow bowling options and will be reluctant to change his formula, which included bowling Moeen Ali in just the eighth over, in the four remaining games.
With that challenge laid down Paine said the Australian top-order needed to put on their thinking caps, and their pads, and find a way through after none of the first five batsmen passed 24 and left the bowlers little to work with.
Only Glenn Maxwell, who powered to an impressive 62, showed any resistance to the England spinners who bowled 19 overs in a row, during which Australia lost 4-78.
Paine knows his men will see that much spin again and doesn't want to see the same result.
"It's something the whole group has been working on and something we speak about a lot, about trying to improve going in to a World Cup year," Paine said.
"It's a work in progress, we know we haven't been fantastic at it, but we are training really hard at it and if we can get some set batters in when (the spin bowlers) start, it would make a big difference."
"It's going to be up to our guys to translate what they are working on in the nets out in to the game and sometimes that's a little bit more difficult than it may see under pressure. They are working really hard at it.
"You don't win too many one day games when the highest score out of your top five is 24 runs."
Playing their first international cricket in England Billy Stanlake (2-44), AJ Tye (2-42) and first-gamer Michael Neser (2-46), who have just eight ODIs between them, were the standout performers as they did their best to keep the home team at bay.
England looked like running away with the game before Tye unleashed his knuckle ball to get two mid-innings wickets, including top-scorer Morgan and left the captain with plenty to think about.
"Our batters are better for having faced them, we haven't faced them a great deal," the English skipper said of the new-look Aussie attack.
"One of the nice things about playing international cricket is you normally know exactly who you're coming up against. It's not necessarily like that in this series so hopefully our batters will become more accustomed to the variations that the Australians have to offer."
It's those variations, with more speed from Jyhe Richardson and wily Test star Nathan Lyon also potentially part of the attack, which has Paine excited for the matches to come.
He knows the only difference between winning and losing the opening game was the runs they made, not their defence of that meagre total with the ball.
"That attack is really exciting. I've said before in the lead up that while they are inexperienced at international level they have played a lot of Big Bash and all the bowlers we have got here have a lot of different skills and variation in their bowling," Paine said.
"We are really confident that if we get enough runs they will create enough chances for us to win games of cricket."
The tourists will travel to Cardiff on Friday morning (EST) before the second match of the series at Sofia Gardens in Saturday night (EST).