Australian skipper Michael Clarke berated his much-vaunted bowling attack as not good enough ahead of the second one-day international final against Sri Lanka in Adelaide.
Australia beat Sri Lanka by just 15 runs in the first of the best-of-three finals series on Sunday in Brisbane despite setting 322 for victory, and Clarke admitted his team's bowling had been disappointing. "A win is a win, but we have a lot of work to do with our power play and death bowling," a frustrated Clarke said after the match. It hasn't been good enough all series. It continues to let us down. We are the number one one-day team and we have to be better than that."
Australia reduced Sri Lanka to 144/6 in the run chase under lights at the Gabba before Nuwan Kulasekara (73) and Upul Tharanga (60) attacked Australia's pace quartet of Brett Lee, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson and Dan Christian. The tourists came close and only some tight bowling by Shane Watson in the final overs denied the Sri Lankans an unlikely victory. "Hopefully that (scare) allows us to understand that we have to be better than that," Clarke said.
Pace spearhead Lee went for three for 59 from his nine overs, but the efforts of Hilfenhaus and Pattinson will be causing Clarke the most concern ahead of Tuesday's game in Adelaide. Ben Hilfenhaus conceded 46 runs from just four overs and Pattinson was only slightly better, going for 49 runs from five.
"I just think we are not executing our skills to be honest," Clarke said. They practise all their different variations in the nets, but under pressure, at the moment, we are not executing. That's been the difference, I think, between us playing some great cricket throughout this series and playing (only) good enough cricket to win the games."
The Australian skipper said Kulasekara played cleanly in Brisbane to hit seven boundaries and three sixes and help bring his team back into contention. "Credit to him, he batted really well, but we have got to find a way to hit our areas better under pressure," he said. Clarke will be sweating on the fitness of opener David Warner, who suffered a groin injury during his magnificent 163 on Sunday.
Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who has had to deal with a raft of injury problems in his squad, including big hitting Angelo Mathews, was more upbeat after the game than the winning captain. "It shows a lot of character that we got back into it," Jayawardene said. "Obviously we didn't play a perfect game today, with the ball. The first five/six overs we didn't put enough pressure on them."
"Some of the boys showed some real character and kept fighting, which is something you want to cultivate in the team. But unfortunately we are 1-0 down in a three-match final and we need to improve to beat them."