Australia lost for the 5th ODI in a row at the MCG yesterday thanks to an unbeaten 61 from Grant Elliot. The fact the Aussies were defeated is not their main concern, however. Having only amounted 225 in their 50 overs for the loss of 5 wickets Michael Hussey(75), aka “Mr. Cricket” seemed more than content with their efforts convinced they’d got enough. The main reason for his optimism being a ‘two paced wicket’ making run scoring tricky if not impossible.
On an admittedly slow wicket, Michael Clarke (98) and Michael Hussey shared a 133 run partnership for the fourth wicket with an apparent lack of risk taking and scarce boundaries. They seemed quite happy to just see the scoreboard ticking over against a disciplined yet tame New Zealand bowling outfit.
Even during the infamous battling powerplay, which the Aussies took in from the 34th to 39th over, Hussey and Clarke failed to come to the party. They were seemingly happy to score at 4 runs an over and post a lacklustre total. This left a belligerent Cameron White and Callum Ferguson, on debut, with no time at the crease to make an impression.
A reason behind their cautious approach is hard to find. Clarke and Hussey have a lot of weight rested on their shoulders when the skipper, talisman and best batsman is not in the side. But this is not sufficient in my eyes. Maybe it goes deeper and reflects a lack of confidence in the Australian middle order. Whatever it is the Aussies have problems. They do not want to go down in the most unlikely of home series defeats against relative minnows and old foe. Belief needs to be instilled into the team quickly before they blink and the Kiwis have an unassailable 3-0 lead.
Captain Fantastic to the Rescue
And it looks like Ricky Ponting will be recalled into the side to change the Aussies fortunes. The 3rd game looks likely to be an enthralling encounter as ever.
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