Aussies build on 'key pillars' for T20 WC despite losses

Steve Smith opening and the dual leg-spin of Tanveer Sangha and Adam Zampa pleases Australia stand-in coach despite back-to-back losses

Stand-in coach Andre Borovec has praised Australia's intent despite the 50-over world champions falling to a second straight T20 defeat as they trial different combinations ahead of the next white-ball World Cup.

With eight of Australia's victorious ODI World Cup squad rested for the five-match T20 series – and potentially more on their way home soon – the visitors sunk to a 44-run defeat in Thiruvananthapuram overnight as India took a 2-0 series lead, having won game one by two wickets last Thursday.

With head coach Andrew McDonald also back home ahead of the five-Test, three-ODI and three-T20I Australian summer, assistant Borovec has taken the reins of a new-look squad that has its eyes firmly fixed on next year's T20 showpiece in the United States and Caribbean.

The major talking point has been the elevation of Steve Smith to opener following his scintillating five-game stint in the KFC BBL last summer, and Borovec says he's liked what he's seen from the superstar batter in the first two matches.

Smith was run out for 52 in the series opener last Thursday before falling for 19 to a stunning diving catch by Yashasvi Jaiswal last night.

"One of the things we had in our planning coming into this series was to have a look at Steve (Smith) up the top and we've had a chance to do that now," Borovec said post-match.

Smith goes on the attack in the first T20I // Getty

"We've been extremely happy with the intent that he's shown with the bat, (I) couldn't fault it actually."

Another important aspect for Australia's planning for the T20 World Cup in just six months' time was to get a look at their two leg-spinners operating in tandem, with Adam Zampa (0-33) and Tanveer Sangha (0-34) proving the tourists' most economical bowlers in game two.

Spin again looms as a big factor in next year's World Cup with the wickets in the Caribbean traditionally dry, slow and offering plenty of assistance to the slow bowlers. The pitches in the US are largely an unknown, with only Broward County Stadium in Florida having previously hosted international matches out of the three host venues selected.

Tanveer Sangha was one of Australia most economical bowlers in the second T20I // Getty

"As of tonight, there's 10 games to go for us before the T20 World Cup and one of the key pillars of our game is intent," Borovec said. "You couldn't fault that throughout the (batting) innings.

"Will there be mistakes made? Of course. But if we're making mistakes with good intent, good decisions and good plans, then if the execution doesn't go quite right, well, we're quite happy to accept that, and then we can work on the execution.

"I'm really happy with that aspect of our game. The evidence was there at the end of the game – it would have been quite easy to maybe not keep going but it certainly didn't happen … the guys kept coming, they kept shooting.

'One of the great BBL knocks': Smith revisits epic SCG ton

"It's just that we were behind on those wickets early on, which made the execution really tight for the batters and needless to say there's inferred pressure that makes it harder to execute as the game goes on.

"So (I) cannot fault the endeavour from the bowling group and the batting group."

Australia now head to Guwahati for the third T20 on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning AEDT) needing to win to keep the series alive.

Qantas T20 Tour of India

First T20: India won by two wickets

November 26: India won by 44 runs

November 28: Third T20, Guwahati

December 1: Fourth T20, Raipur

December 3: Fifth T20, Bengaluru

Australia T20 squad: Matthew Wade (c), Aaron Hardie, Jason Behrendorff, Sean Abbott, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa

India T20 squad: Suryakumar Yadav (c), Ruturaj Gaikwad (vc), Ishan Kishan, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Shivam Dubey, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar, Shreyas Iyer (last two matches only)

All matches start 12.30am AEDT on the following date.
All matches broadcast on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports