Australia’s victory over Sri Lanka kept their World Cup hopes alive, but did nothing to quell questions surrounding captain Aaron Finch’s place in the squad.
Finch’s innings of 31 pitches on 42 balls raised more questions than they answered, with the skipper looking far from comfortable for much of his time at the crease.
As Marcus Stoinis blasted the fastest T20 International 50 in Australian history, Finch struggled to get the ball out of the box at the other end.
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The fly-half contributed just seven points in the 69-partnership with Stoinis.
Finch himself described his sleeves as “unusual” and “poor”.
“It sounded like he had choked up a bit,” said Nine commentator Callum Ferguson.
“I think the important thing was that he came through the innings and was certainly a stabilizing presence in the crease.
“But he will be a bit disappointed, you could see the frustration in the middle, he was quite demonstrative at times.”
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Finch set a number of unwanted records during his runs.
Of the 305 times an Australian batter has passed 30 in a T20 International, Finch’s strike rate of 73.80 ranks dead last.
By facing 42 balls without hitting a single four (he hit a six), Finch set a new record for most balls faced in an innings by an Australian without once finding the string.
Ferguson noted that Finch may have been the victim of trying to score too quickly.
“He’ll have to look quite carefully at the way he went about it and the method. I felt like maybe he tried to go a little too hard at times,” he explained.
“On this pitch you actually don’t have to chase the ball too hard, you can time the ball and find gaps.
“It was like he was struggling to find that rhythm he was looking for.”
Former Australia captain Michael Clarke was more blunt, suggesting Finch was lucky Sri Lanka hadn’t kicked the ball further.
“I thought if the Sri Lankans could get that ball in the right area when it was new, we could be under the pump and we were,” he said on Sky Sports Radio. The Big Sports Lunch.
“But even still, if it’s England’s bowling attack, if it’s India and Pakistan’s bowling attack that I watched the other night, if it’s South Africa’s bowling attack, Finchy does not last 10 seconds because he has played and missed and the balls have gone over the stumps.
“Sri Lanka played too short. With 160 on the board, if Sri Lanka had the right length and even though we were under the pump without Marcus Stoinis’ incredible innings, I think we could have had even more problems. “
Australia’s next game is against England in Melbourne on Friday.
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