Mott calls for Stars to up the ante against SA

Australia sorted out two key problems in Sri Lanka in September, but coach Matthew Mott says there's still work to do

Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars coach Matthew Mott has challenged his team to step up their aggression with both bat and ball when they take on South Africa in a five-match one-day international series this month.

Australia romped to a series whitewash over Sri Lanka in September and while the opposition didn't offer the sort of test the Southern Stars could expect against the likes of England or New Zealand, Mott believes his team did sort out two key problems while in the island nation.

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Now, he wants them to up the ante even further against a Proteas line-up containing world-class players Shabnim Ismail, Dane van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp and Mignon du Preez.

"Generally our play against spin is getting better all the time and we're playing some good options, but the big thing that we really focused on for Sri Lanka and which really bared fruit was making that early impact and being really aggressive (with the ball)," Mott told

"We were more aggressive with the ball and attacked the stumps as often as we could, which is what we were looking for.

"We'll have to go harder again against South Africa."

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Australia's inability to make early inroads with the ball proved their downfall as they finished runners-up to West Indies in the ICC World T20 earlier this year.

While that aspect of their game improved markedly in Sri Lanka – the hosts managed just one opening partnership of more than seven in five matches – the Australian attack averaged 17 wides per game, an issue which came to a head in the second ODI when 41 of Sri Lanka's 176 runs came from wides. 

"The one little box we didn't tick over there was our discipline," Mott said. "That second game was a bit of a line in the sand for the fast bowling group and we'd like to see less of that this summer. 

"We were a bit disappointed with the extra sundries we gave away over there and that discipline will have to improve a lot against South Africa."

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Mott has also challenged his batting line-up to step on the accelerator against the Proteas, who they will meet at Manuka Oval, North Sydney Oval and in Coffs Harbour.

"Batting wise we were pretty good in Sri Lanka but I think we've still got another gear in us when we do get that solid base,” he said.

"There were a couple of times (in Sri Lanka) we got good scores where I'd like us to take it to a higher level. 

"In the fourth match we scored 268, but I think we could have got around the 300 mark. 

"One of the things we want to be better at is assessing early the par score for the day and adjusting accordingly, sometimes 300 will be our goal but at other grounds 240 might be a winning score."

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After surrendering their World T20 title to the Windies, Mott says he can see the pain of that defeat driving his players as they turn their attention to next year's Women's 50-over World Cup in England, where they will defend their 2013 title.

"That World Cup loss definitely stung the team and I can categorically say that you can see that extra hunger in the players and they're putting in that little bit extra all the time.

"We can see it in their fitness testing, in the way girls are training in their own state squads and there's certainly a real hunger about getting back and being that dominant team."

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