Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd T20, Melbourne January 27, 2013

'We need to take more batting risks' - Maxwell


When asked what areas Australia needed to improve in order to level the Twenty20 series after their loss to Sri Lanka in Sydney, allrounder Glenn Maxwell's answer was revealing: batting, bowling and fielding. Despite the fact that Australia were in the contest until Thisara Perera struck a pair of sixes to get Sri Lanka home in the 19th over of their chase, they knew deep down that had been outplayed in all areas.

Batting first they scored a sub-par 137, of which David Warner made 90 - the highest percentage of a team's total ever scored by one player in a T20 international. They finished with seven wickets in hand, yet could not lift the tempo against Sri Lanka's outstanding bowling, managing only 36 runs from the last five overs. In the field, they missed opportunities. Their own death bowling was imprecise and too easy to score off.

"Very disappointing. We felt like we got outplayed in all three forms which is not a good thing," Maxwell said in Melbourne on Sunday as the Australians prepared for Monday night's second game. "We've got a lot of things to take out of the game and work on for Melbourne. Not a whole lot of positives came out of the night apart from Davey's innings."

That Matthew Wade and Maxwell at Nos. 6 and 7 were not required to bat, yet Australia were unable to post a winning total, was a concern. In his first match back in the national side in nearly a year, Shaun Marsh struggled for 6 from 17 balls, and Adam Voges was unbeaten on 25 from 29 at the end. Remarkably, not one of Australia's batsmen besides Warner hit a four, although the captain George Bailey did clear the boundary for one six.

In part, that was down to Sri Lanka's excellent bowling. Lasith Malinga confirmed why he is regarded by many opponents as the world's best T20 bowler and was hit for nothing worse than ones and twos all innings. Nuwan Kulasekara, Thisara Perera and Ajantha Mendis were all impressive as well. But Maxwell said the Australians had discussed after the match mixing things up more to throw the bowlers off, and if he faces Malinga in Melbourne he intends to use the depth of the crease to alter the bowler's length.

"We spoke about that we have to find a way to score, whether it be change up or take an educated risk," Maxwell said. "We had seven wickets in hand at the end. We just probably needed to take a few more risks at the end. I think we'll see some different techniques shown. There won't be the steady cricket that we probably showed last night.

"We were very good last night as far as hitting gaps and singles but that probably would have been more handy in the one-day team. In the T20 stuff we've just got to be ahead of the game, whether it be lap-shots, reverse-sweeps, backing away, charging, all those sorts of things we have to be up to date with that. We saw Dilshan's scoop last night, that put us on the back foot. That was an incredible shot. It was a calculated risk and he played it really well."

Not that the Australians built up the pressure on Sri Lanka's batsmen either. Maxwell put down a sharp chance in the third over when Kushal Perera cut hard to point and a couple of other half-chances later went begging, a run-out opportunity was missed when the ball was thrown to the wrong end, and generally there was a sloppiness not usually seen in Australian sides. Maxwell said as one of the sharper fielders in the side, he needed to lead by example.

"Myself and Dave Warner are probably the two leaders of that," he said. "We're at cover and point. We're running around a fair bit. We've got to be the energy and lifting the rest of the team as well. Me dropping the catch in the third over doesn't get us off to a good start and we've just got to lift. That's the main thing. The senior guys and the better fielders have to lift the rest of the group."

One of the most memorable pieces of fielding came from Ben Laughlin, who ran backward from point and completed a diving take to get rid of Tillakaratne Dilshan, but Laughlin might find himself dropped for the second game after a disappointing bowling effort. He leaked 46 runs from his 3.5 overs, including three sixes in his final two overs as the Sri Lankans completed the chase, and the selectors will be tempted to replace him with James Faulkner for the Melbourne match.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sydneysider on January 28, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    80% of Australian team players are trying to secure their position in the Team. They need to have at least 5 players that is permanent so that they will take risk.

  • $$ milind on January 28, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    Its nothing more than common sense from Maxwell. The way Voges and Shaun Marsh played they were always going 2 lose this match.... Maxwell or Wade should be promoted up the order to do some hitting with the openers

  • damien on January 28, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    @acnipuna , Yep great bowling at the death by the lions. But Warners innings of 90 of 62 is a big pass mark. He had a fantastic strike rate and if he had some help at the other end a score of 160+ could have been expected. The weak Lankan batting has struggled to score ANY decent totals all tour whether it be tests ODI or T/20 . They even looked shaky chasing 137 at times. I think Jimmyrob83 made a good point about Marsh and Voges they looked to be batting for future selection and were afraid to get out. The truth is both were in great form coming into the match and just need to play their natural game that they were selected for in the first place. If the aussies fire sri lanka wont get within a bulls roar of them, they are playing their best cricket and only just breaking even and there is so much room for improvement in the aussie line up.

  • James on January 28, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    @ thirimanna... if I could be bothered i'd tear that utter tripe u wrote to shreds piece by piece. Seriously, u guys win a couple of short form games against experimental teams and u carry on like nobodies business... take a reality dose fella coz the only thing u proved is ur an right twat!

    Beyond all that, a far superior performance all round from the "Lankies" against an Aussie side that was playing too safe - Voges was the worst/best example of this (with Marsh not far behind) as he was playing to do nothing more than hold his place in the side, something which given that he should NOT do. Try out a Pomerbasch, or even give Hodge a run while we're experimenting but if a player won't play "to the format" and just plays for a spot they should not be in the side as they are not playing a team game.

  • Simon on January 28, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    The players thought 140 would be a good score and they got 137 and that was with our best, Warner, in the whole time. Often one person going off is enough but it seems the Oz bowling wasn't up to the SL standard. We need more 4s and 6s today.

  • Rahul on January 28, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    Yes i agree with the comments on Maxwell, its time for him to start performing with either bat or bowl as he won't get a run forever. I know he is in the team for his potential but the 24-year-old's numbers are not amazing - in seven one-day internationals he does not have a wicket while he has scored just one half-century in 11 innings with the bat in international cricket. Time to put numbers on the board.

  • Lalith on January 28, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    Maxwell has a very good cricket brain. He should be made the captain of T20 team.

  • SIva on January 28, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    IMO Marsh and Voges should take the some responsibilities for loosing the match. They battered like ODI match not like T20. It was horrible to see how Voges & Marsh batting compared to K.Perera. Finch at least tried something. Warner, Starc & Daugherty well done guys.

  • disco on January 27, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    "we've got to take an educated risk:" That statement is nonsense because with 7 wickets in hand ALL risks are automatically 'educated' because the 'education' is the very knowledge that you have 7 wickets in hand. Which is why Marsh's ridiculously ginger approach was an embarrassment.