ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

Australia v Kenya, Group A, World Cup 2011, Bangalore

Australia content with game, after long wait

After a 20-day break since their last game, Australia were happy just to get 100 overs under their belt against Kenya in Bangalore

Brydon Coverdale at the Chinnaswamy Stadium

March 13, 2011

Comments: 15 | Text size: A | A

When Ricky Ponting walked out to toss the coin at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, his batsmen had not had an innings for 15 days. Since the Australians last batted, against New Zealand in Nagpur on February 25, India and England had each completed four matches, and Sachin Tendulkar alone had spent more than eight hours at the crease. There are only so many throwdowns from the coach that a batsman, and Tim Nielsen's shoulder, can take.

At the end of the 60-run win over Kenya, the Australia were content with what they achieved. The batting was good without being outstanding, while three wickets from the bowlers and three run-outs was below-par against the 13th-ranked team in the world. But the captain knows his attack has already bowled out New Zealand and Zimbabwe in this tournament. More important on Sunday night was that they spent 100 overs on the field.

Michael Hussey, hamstring reattached to the bone and position in the side reconfirmed, slotted in at No. 6 as if he had never been away. The in-form Michael Clarke continued to display his classy touch. Brad Haddin's innings featured as much rust as a wrecking yard, but it was gradually shed. He eventually found his timing in a contribution of 65, though against stronger sides his slow starts might be more of a problem.

Ponting could have used a bit more time in the middle and must have been furious at himself for falling to Collins Obuya, whose loopy legbreaks appear less threatening than the ones Ponting himself occasionally delivers in the nets. But he played some fine shots in his 36, and can build on that against Canada on Wednesday. Shane Watson fell in the eighth over, but his form is not in doubt.

The main concern remains Cameron White, who was bowled for 2, trying to drive against the offspin of Jimmy Kamande. White has now played 12 innings since his last half-century, and didn't contribute much to the two warm-up losses, either. He has the backing of Ponting, who has maintained the old "he's batting well in the nets" line, but White needs to justify that faith.

Michael Clarke swings one the the on-side boundary, Australia v Kenya, World Cup 2011, Group A, Bangalore, March 13, 2011
Michael Clarke has scored 175 runs in this World Cup and only been dismissed once © Associated Press

He'll now have one of the squad's better players of spin, David Hussey, hovering and waiting to regain his position. And as Clarke and Michael Hussey showed against Kenya, Australia need their finest handlers of slow bowling in the starting line-up in these conditions. At his best, Clarke is light on his feet and quick with his thinking, and both those attributes were evident in his 93.

He used the crease against the spinners, lulling them into giving him half-volleys or half-trackers, and accelerated towards the end of his innings in a most un-Clarke-like manner. In the past year, Clarke has averaged 67.83 in one-day internationals, and when he finally holed out to long-on, it was the first time he had been dismissed in the tournament, during which he has scored 175 runs.

Together with Hussey, he helped Australia out of a slightly sticky situation at 143 for 4. Their 114-run partnership was classic Clarke and Hussey: pierced gaps, quick singles, risks avoided, crisis averted. It also answered any questions about whether it was the right move to fly Hussey out from Perth to replace Doug Bollinger, altering the balance of the squad.

"He played the way that we know he can play," Ponting said of Hussey. "That's his class and his experience shining through. I thought for his first game back in the international team for six or seven weeks, it looked like he hadn't missed a beat. His timing right from the start was great. He didn't appear to be hindered at all throughout his innings or in the field. It's a great sign for us going forward.

"The fact that we've got 100 overs out of this game was a good sign for us. It probably would have been an easier option for us today to turn up and win the toss and bowl, but we needed a good solid hit-out. We got a good, solid 50 overs with the bat and 50 overs with the ball."

In doing so, Australia qualified for the quarter-finals and recorded their 33rd consecutive World Cup match without a loss. And after a fortnight spent in airports, hotel rooms and nets, that was all Ponting wanted.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 15 
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Posted by Rajaram on (March 14, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

It is time to test out the bench strength. Cameron White is badly out of form.Bring in Callum Ferguson in his place for the Canada game.Jason Krejza is ineffective. Bring back David Hussey. He bowls decent off spin too. Bring in Tim Paine for Brad Haddin as opening bat and wicket keeper standby.Try oyut this combination for the Pakistan game too. Then we've got all bases covered for the QF,Semis and Finals.

Posted by Drew on (March 14, 2011, 3:51 GMT)

It's quite sad in a way that both New Zealand and Australia were that confident with their totals that it didn't bring the best out of their bowling attack. They still had net run rates to play for, could mean all the difference when it comes down to who makes the semi's.

Posted by Narendran on (March 14, 2011, 2:52 GMT)

The weakest links in Australian cricket are Ricky Ponting, Jason Krejza and Steve Smith (in that order). They needed somebody like David Warner/Shaun Marsh at the top. They will be better off using David Hussey for Krezja and John Hastings for Steve Smith. Hope they make the change quickly. Things are looking bleak for Australia.

Posted by Ryan on (March 14, 2011, 2:35 GMT)

You guys are missing the point! What good would it have done Australia to bowl Kenya out for 120? Everyone expected Australia to blow Kenya away. The Aussies never talked about trying to do that. The bowler's needed to be put under pressure. They have a game against Canada and a game against Pakistan remaining before the knockout rounds and excluding a 1/4 of a game aginst SL, they haven't been put under any pressure. They don't need to boost their NRR like the other teams in the group do, and hence trash Kenya and Canada. They know all they have to do is win their games and they top the group. Ian Chappell said as much before yesterday's game." Aus will be HOPING to be put under pressure." Don't be surprised to see the Aussie's decide to chase against Pak to put themself in a pressure chase before the QF's. Also Australia know the less impressive they are now. The more pressure on India and SA, which is exactly what Australia want!

Posted by Rohanj on (March 14, 2011, 1:41 GMT)

Don't forget, the pace bowlers didn't bowl their full ten overs which is an indicator that the Aussies were definitely using the time to get overs into the spinners and part timers, especially since Kenya never really threatened. Fair dinkum I doubt the Aussies could do anything right when it comes to Indian supporters!! Lets not forget either that Australia is now the only unbeaten team left in the WC and India may thrash the minnows but are proving themselves to be very vulnerable against better opposition, as shown against South Africa and England. Look out for your own struggling team India, Australia are coming for you!!!!!!! Sehwag and Tendulkar are gonna be kneecapped by Lee and Tait!

Posted by Andrew on (March 14, 2011, 0:46 GMT)

@Stephen Terrill - 2 things; 1. " lucky to get into the semi's with that effort." - that's the point, the effort wasn't there, this was more of a centre wicket practise game. 2. Kenya were never likely to get the runs, & Oz under used their "strike bowlers", & wisely warmed up their part timers. If this match had any meaning/impact whatsoever - i.e carryover points, net run rate or anything, Kenya would not have made 200. That being said can we applaud Kenya for showing some application??? @Ramesh Shotham - you just keep believing buddy! The warm up game NEVER happenned! @ sweetspot - I wouldn't read to much into the game, from an Oz perspective there was nothing but positives!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 14, 2011, 0:39 GMT)

Glad to see Michael Clark keep his head and lead the Aussies in this way. He has been bashed around too much by his own countrymen - Apart from Ponting, he's the best captain for the Aussies: a level-headed and honest person, who gives the best for his country. I wish I could say the same for some of my Sri Lankan players who have had their minds influenced too much around by the World Cup hype.

Posted by peter on (March 14, 2011, 0:01 GMT)

@ramesh ,hey dude first look at the indian bowlers and then comment ,all the games which india won did it win convincingly?i dont think so they struggled against the bowling of ireland and canada .well i am sure australia has a better bowling attack than india and everytime the worldcup comes up indian team always boasts as if the cup is theirs and end up loosing.well they are playing after 15 days of cricket and in all the 50 overs they batted they never threatened australia.I wish the quarter finals will be against aus vs india and then lets talk abt the likes of sehwag and tendulkar. :)

Posted by Aidan on (March 13, 2011, 23:41 GMT)

Wouldn't make to much of this performance - other than the bowlers have to work hard in the nets. It's not surprising under the circumstances the team was rusty though.

Posted by Basil on (March 13, 2011, 23:34 GMT)

Hastings should play next game if only for the reason just to put a little pressure on the other 3 quicks letting them know that they are not automatic selections. As for our spinners.... Maybe D Hussey in for White to strengthen both our batting and bowling. Also, there is always Ferguson who never let's the team down.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.

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