Australia’s Moises Henriques admitted that none of the Aussie batters have been able to adapt to West Indies’ tactic of taking pace off the ball on slow wickets, and insisted that he, too, stands as a culprit. Henriques admitted that the Aussies have not been able to match WI’s brute power hitting.
It was deja vu for Australia in St Lucia on Monday as a third ordinary batting performance in a row handed an unassailable 3-0 series to the Windies, who yet again outclassed the visitors in the shortest format. Batting first, 141 was all Australia managed in their quota of 20 overs, and the target was chased down with 31 balls to spare by a rampant Windies, who, with the help of ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle, slaughtered the visitors’ bowling.
But despite the bowlers getting hammered, it was the batters who were at fault. At no point did the batters put the Windies’ bowlers under pressure and once again, for the third match running, they were strangled by the hosts in the middle-overs. Fabian Allen, Hayden Walsh Jr and Dwayne Bravo all gave Australia no pace to work with, and failure to adapt to the conditions saw the visitors post a total that was well below par.
One Aussie batter who laboured on the day en route to a decent score was Moises Henriques, and speaking post the match, the 34-year-old admitted that he and the other batters were guilty of not adapting.
“It’s something we’ve got to look at. We spoke about it briefly after the last game, because in both games he had a fair bit of success against us,” Henriques said of Walsh, who finished with figures of 2/18.
“He’s probably a little bit slower than most leg-spinners we’re accustomed to facing back in Australia. Even the balls he’s missed short, a few of us have missed opportunities to score. But we really have to adapt a bit quicker than what he have so far, and I’m a guilty party.”
No Australian batter, on the day, had a SR over 150, and Henriques admitted that heading forward, they will need to find a way to score runs against defensive bowling. He admitted that the visitors, thus far, have not been able to manage the power-hitting produced by Windies, who blasted 9 sixes in the 3rd T20I on Monday (compared to Australia’s 2).
“(Russell) is smacking the ball incredibly well and the moment they miss by a little bit whereas we as a batting group haven’t been able to match that yet. So that’s up to us as a batting unit,” Henriques said.
“As a batting group it’s finding a way to score off that defensive bowling … we have to find a way to put them under pressure when they do bowl that way.”
There was an interesting contrast in the two teams’ approach with the ball in the third T20I as while the Windies preferred to slow things down, Australia backed raw pace, dropping Ashton Agar to accommodate Riley Meredith. The tactic backfired, but Henriques backed the pacers and stressed that the Aussies are a bit undercooked due to lack of match practice.
“The bowlers in both teams have very different instincts. Our guys are big and fast and have some really strong assets in swing and pace. Their natural instinct is to want to use that.
“Whereas their bowlers, their natural instinct is to slow things down and when they do go on-pace they go as wide or as full as possible. Instinctually we’re talking about a couple of different skillsets.
“It probably has a lot to do with where we’ve played a lot more cricket and where they’ve played a lot more cricket.”
Australia, who were the number one ranked T20 side last year, have now lost 8 of their last 11 T20Is.