Aussies set to make several changes in wake of record first-up defeat
Aussies set to make several changes in wake of record first-up defeat

Heads will roll: Aussies to pay price for record defeat

Australia is preparing to drop multiple players in the fallout from a record 53-run T20 loss to New Zealand - but under-fire captain Aaron Finch is safe.

Finch, 34, looked sharp in the nets at New Zealand's High Performance Centre in Christchurch last week and batted promisingly in the Aussies' centre-wicket match simulation scenarios, before driving his second ball straight to Devon Conway in Christchurch on Monday.

But coach Andrew McDonald does not want Finch batting in fear on the back of his first big shot flying to backward point and declared there was no reason to think the skipper wouldn't lead Australia at this year's Twenty20 World Cup in India.


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"He's in the best T20 side and he's an incredible T20 cricketer," McDonald said.

"His international record is up there with the greats of T20 cricket.

"You're never too far away in this game."

McDonald's 18-man squad trained in Dunedin on Wednesday and selectors were due to hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday night, with senior coach Justin Langer and Trevor Hohns dialing in from home to chat with George Bailey, who made the trip across the Tasman with McDonald.

Former selector Mark Waugh thought the Aussies would stick with the same XI because they had settled on those players as their best team.


But McDonald warned changes were coming after his side was pounded in the death overs and then collapsed to 4-19 after 26 balls.

"We're contemplating some changes," he said.

"We'll assess that (selection changes) after training. We lost four wickets in the power-play. You're not winning too many games from there.

Matthew Wade (12 off 12), Finch (one off two), debutant Josh Philippe (two off three), Glenn Maxwell (one off five) and Marcus Stoinis (eight off 11) all failed as Kiwi bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee shaped the ball brilliantly.

On a brisk Dunedin day and under overcast skies, the swing kings loom ominously again on Thursday.


The Aussies are expecting a high-scoring contest and could turn to the likes of Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner or D'Arcy Short to sharpen the batting.

Left-arm seamer Jason Behrendorff is also being considered.

Australia has not played in Dunedin since 2000, back when the crowd pelted bottles on to the field after a Brett Lee bouncer knocked Adam Parore's helmet on to the stumps.

The umpire did not signal a no-ball and Parore had to go, prompting captain Steve Waugh to huddle his players in the centre for protection from the wild crowd.

The Black Caps are 19-0 in Dunedin since that ODI and a crowd of 5000 is expected for the day game which has been scheduled during university orientation week.


The Aussies have made some strategical adjustments since Monday and will set different fields to Devon Conway, who hit far too many gaps during his 99 not-out.

While the Aussies studied vision and statistics of Conway and Glenn Phillips (30 off 20), watching them live has provided far richer information.

"We felt as though those two together put a lot of speed on the game and that was something we weren't able to combat," McDonald said.

The Aussies are enjoying their freedom after their release from quarantine on Sunday night.

"I think we've forgotten what normal is," McDonald said.

"We've been doing this bubble life since August. It's a new normal."

Originally published as Heads will roll: Aussies to pay price for record defeat

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