Australia vice-captain Pat Cummins admitted that yesterday’s 24-run defeat to England was a tough pill to swallow and appealed to his team to look into their shortcomings in the last 10 overs of the game.
On the same wicket on which Australia lost their last 8 wickets for 60 runs chasing 232, England, slumping to 149/8 going into the slog overs, recovered with the aid of a 76-run 9th wicket partnership between Tom Curran and Adil Rashid. Cummins said, “I’ll get my head around that tomorrow and have a bit of a look at the footage. On that wicket, for 40 overs it felt like a good length was the hardest to hit, and suddenly they started hitting them quite nicely.
“We’ll have a review. If we’d kept them down – those last 10 went for 80-odd, I think – we’re suddenly only chasing 200 and it’s a different game. But what I will say is Adil and Tom are both really good batsmen. They might be batting at nine and 10, but when they walked out, we knew that they could still really hold the bat.
“It’s a tough one to get your head around. I thought we bowled really well and then let them off the hook in the last 10 overs….we gave them an extra 40 or 50 runs.”
Cummins said that the Australian side needs to adapt quickly to these kind of surfaces. “Something we always talk about in tournament play and World Cups is that towards the back end, you are likely to get these kind of wickets where spinners (will play a role) and you’re not getting 350 that you might get at the start of the tournament,” he said.
“On a really good wicket, in your death bowling, you go to yorkers or slower balls or bouncers. Here it’s tossing up what’s the hardest ball to hit – is it a yorker or maybe it’s top of the stumps? Maybe you can keep the fields in for longer, the spinners might have more of an impact. I really enjoy it. It makes you think differently and try and solve problems.”
Cummins admitted that they never thought the run-chase was going to be easier, especially the latter half when the ball got soft. He said, “Having fielded for 50 overs on that wicket, we knew it was going to be really hard work. We were obviously really happy when Aaron and Marnus were going along nicely but I heard the commentators say ‘they’re going along beautifully, they’re walking it home’ but none of us were thinking that. We knew the last 80 or 90 runs were going to be hard work on that wicket, especially as the ball got softer and older.”