Qantas Tour of the West Indies
Australia identify recent weakness
George Bailey says Australia will focus on how they finish with the bat in Barbados
Martin Smith in Basseterre
15 June 2016, 07:36 AM AEST
One of the factors that powered Australia during their World Cup triumph last year has been noticeably lacking during this Qantas Tour of the West Indies, according to acting vice-captain George Bailey.
The Aussies travelled 575km south-east from St Kitts to Barbados on Wednesday morning (AEST), sitting in top spot on the ODI tri-series table but licking their wounds following their shock defeat to the West Indies at Warner Park on Tuesday.
And Bailey, as well as captain Steve Smith, identified Australia's substandard performance late in their innings as a major contributor to their four-wicket defeat.
The tourists managed just 93 runs in their final 15 overs on Tuesday, only finding the boundary on six occasions, to finish with 7-265 after a 170-run partnership between Smith (74) and Usman Khawaja (98) had laid the foundation for some late fireworks that never eventuated.
It was a similar story against South Africa on Sunday; Australia scored 103 runs after the 35th over, but a fightback with the ball late in the Proteas' innings secured a 36-run win.
Having averaged 138 runs from the final 15 overs in their previous nine ODIs where they've batted first and completed their 50 overs, a streak stretching back to the start of their triumphant World Cup campaign, Bailey was in no doubt as to what the Australians needed to work on ahead of their next match against South Africa in Barbados on Sunday morning (AEST).
"That's under where we'd like to be, and both from pretty good positions in terms of having wickets in hand," Bailey said of the two matches in St Kitts. "So we've got to come up with some different plans.
"You might be lured in here a little bit with the short boundaries, and that's probably fine if you're the size of Kieron Pollard or Mitch Marsh, but with someone like me you've got to be a bit smarter and come up with a different way of doing that.
"We certainly had the foundation, it was just a matter of doing it.
"I would have liked to have done a little bit better, but I thought the West Indies also bowled pretty well.”
Australia's ability to accelerate late in their innings was a driving force behind their World Cup triumph on home soil 15 months ago.
In the four matches the eventual champions played where they batted first and completed their allotted overs, they blasted 148, 169, 177 and 122 runs in the final 15 overs, averaging 17 fours and five sixes between overs 35 to 50.
And in five matches since then – three against England in the UK and two against India at home - the Aussies have averaged 126 runs in the final 15 overs, with around 11 fours and four sixes per match.
While the batting feats in the World Cup were bloated by tighter fielding restrictions - the fielding side were only allowed four fielders outside the inner circle during the final 10 overs of the innings, a rule that was changed after the tournament to allow for five fielders outside the circle - Bailey has noted the significant drop in his side's ability to find or clear the boundary rope on this tour
Even if batting on slower wickets in the Caribbean makes it harder to hit out against the older ball.
"I think what we're not getting that we normally get in the last 10 to 15 overs is a lot more boundaries," he said.
"I don't think we’ve cleared the fence as much as the Australian team has done in the past one or two years.
"So that's a change; finding a way to get those boundaries or if we can't, finding a way to find a few more twos
"The two grounds that we've played at so far, what we've seen in the last 15 overs is if you can be taking wickets, it's really hard for a batsman to start.
"It's an area for us to improve, but on the flip side it's also the area we won the game against South Africa."
One of the keys to Australia's World Cup triumph last year was allrounder Glenn Maxwell, who was particularly prolific in the final 15 overs of an innings but was left out of the past two matches on this tour.
Quick Single: Selectors to mull recall for Maxwell
Skipper Smith, who also lamented to finish to Australia's innings against the West Indies in St Kitts, says Maxwell will be considered for the final matches of the series in Barbados.
"We got ourselves into a pretty good position," Smith said of the loss to the Windies.
"We had quite a few wickets in the shed and we weren't quite able to accelerate as well as we would have liked from 30 to 40 overs and then from 40 to 50 overs.
"So we were probably 15-20 runs short.
"I'm sure (Maxwell) will be talked about in Barbados.
"I guess he sort of lacked a little bit of consistency in the middle order in the last 10 or so one-dayers, so we left him out for these couple of games."