Aussies still pondering opening combo
Australia are searching for their best one-day opening batting combination just days out from Friday's series opener against England at Lord's.
Australia are searching for their best one-day opening batting combination just days out from Friday's series opener against England at Lord's.The nation's best 50-over teams have all enjoyed strong, settled partnerships at the top of the order.
Think World Cup winning combinations such as Geoff Marsh and David Boon, Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh, Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden.
Coach Mickey Arthur said selectors were still trying to strike the "perfect balance" in terms of working out who should take guard for the start of the innings alongside David Warner.
Shane Watson and Matthew Wade have both partnered Warner since the wicketkeeper's one-day international debut four months ago in Australia.
Although he wanted a degree of flexibility in his lineup, Arthur admitted he was keen to nail down a combination.
"We'd like some consistency for our batters so they know where they're going to bat," Arthur said.
"But the batters know from my conversations with them that they know what's expected.
"They know what roles they're going to play."
After Watson opened in all five one-day matches in the Caribbean, Wade was preferred for the tour opener in Leicester.
The left-hander made a solid 32 against Leicestershire with Watson in line to open in the rain-ruined clash against Ireland in Belfast.
Arthur suggested the fitness of Australia's Twenty20 captain George Bailey (groin niggle) would determine whether Watson or Wade opens for the first match of the five-game series.
In short, if the Tasmanian middle order batsman is fit and selected then Wade will play at the top of the order.
If not, Peter Forrest will come in and Wade will slide down the order to play a finishing role at the end of the innings.
Warner said he and Wade had to be careful to keep the scoreboard ticking over and not just rely on scoring boundaries.
"That is part of our game where we can get away or we can get bogged down a little bit," he said. "We are working on that a lot."
Warner said he had to tone down his cavalier approach to the game in the seamer-friendly English conditions.
"It is about trying to pull it in early because it does a bit early here," he said. "I have to adjust it."
Australia's preparations have been far from ideal with weather impacting on lead-up matches in Leicester and Belfast.
The weather bureau is forecasting fine conditions for Tuesday's day/night clash against Essex in Chelmsford.