Smith urges Australia to step on the gas

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Smith urges Australia to step on the gas against Bangladesh
Shukriya Pakistan

LONDON: Steve Smith admits Australia have no margin for error as they look to kick start their Champions Trophy campaign against Bangladesh on Monday.

Australia’s bid to open the Champions Trophy group stage with a win were thwarted by heavy rain against New Zealand on Friday.

Smith’s side needed a revised target of 235 to win in 33 overs after Kane Williamson hit a century in New Zealand’s 291 all out.

Australia were 53 for three off nine when the players left the field for the final time due to the bad weather in Birmingham.

The teams took a point apiece, a result that most benefits Group A rivals England.

England launched the tournament, which features the world’s top eight one-day teams, with an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh at The Oval on Thursday.

Smith acknowledged his team now have to win their remaining group matches if they are to advance to the semi-finals.

“It’s obviously not ideal for both sides to have a washout. So for us now it’s just about making sure that we’re playing each game like a final and winning the next two,” Smith said.

“It’s a pretty quick tournament. So you can’t really afford a washout or a loss.

“You’ve got to turn it around quickly now and control what you can control.”

While Australia will be expected to take maximum points against Bangladesh at The Oval, history suggests Smith’s side shouldn’t underestimate their unheralded opponents.

Australia were the victims of one of the all-time great upsets when Bangladesh beat them by five wickets in a one-day international in Cardiff in 2005.

– Frustrated –

For Australia to avoid another epic embarrassment, Smith needs far more accurate and penetrating spells from his bowlers.

Josh Hazlewood took six wickets against New Zealand, but fellow quicks Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins were much less impressive, managing just one wicket between them.

Smith was frustrated with the sloppy bowling, but he refused to reveal whether he would make changes to the line-up to face Bangladesh.

“I thought it was probably one of the worst bowling displays that we’ve put on for a very long time,” he said.

“We’re going to be trying to win the game. So whatever team we see fit for the next match against Bangladesh at The Oval, we’ll look at the conditions there and see what sort of wicket we get.

“Obviously we’ve got to win the next game and probably quite well as well. So we’ll look at that when we get there.”

Bangladesh’s failure to defend their solid score of 305 against England leaves them facing a daunting task if they are to advance.

England chased down that target with ease and Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza called on his bowlers to tighten up against Australia.

“I think in the middle patches of the match, we couldn’t get any wickets, that’s also a (key) point,” he said.

Mortaza also conceded Bangladesh must be more ruthless when they have a chance to kill off opponents.

“The batters can respond themselves a little bit better,” he said.

“With eight batters, we are in a great position to score 330, 340. But we lost too many wickets in the late order.”

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