Aussie spin­ners make hard work of min­nows

Townsville Bulletin - - Bizfi Nd -

IN time it could be re­garded as the turn­ing point in Aus­tralia’s World Cup cam­paign, or just a slack ef­fort from a bowl­ing group that couldn’t even get Kenya out.

Com­ing off an eight-day break thanks to the tour­na­ment’s bizarre sched­ul­ing, Aus­tralia beat Group A min­nows Kenya by only 60 runs in a cu­ri­ous battle in Ban­ga­lore.

Un­de­feated in 33 con­sec­u­tive World Cup matches, Aus­tralia can use to­mor­row’s fix­ture against Canada as an­other op­por­tu­nity to fine­tune their game ahead of Satur­day’s clash with Group A lead­ers Pak­istan.

Skip­per Ricky Ponting, while ex­plain­ing he did some tac­ti­cal ex­per­i­ment­ing with his bowlers in Sun­day’s match, ad­mit­ted he was con­cerned spin­ners Ja­son Kre­jza ( 0-36 off eight overs) and Steve Smith ( 0-36 off six) had no im­pact on a turn­ing pitch at Chin­naswamy Sta­dium.

Chas­ing Aus­tralia’s 6-324, t he World No. 13-ranked Kenya hit 6-264 with three bats­men run out and pace­men Shaun Tait ( 2-49) and Brett Lee 1-26) claim­ing the other three vic­tims.

‘‘ We were ob­vi­ously a bit rusty, hav­ing a long break be­tween games,’’ Ponting said.

‘‘ It prob­a­bly would have been an eas­ier op­tion for us to­day to turn up and win the toss and bowl, but we needed a good, solid hit-out.

‘‘ We got a good, solid 50 overs with the bat and 50 overs with the ball.

‘‘ It was a good op­por­tu­nity for us to blow a few of the cob­webs out that have been build­ing up.’’

Ponting said Aus­tralia’s bowl­ing had lacked in­ten­sity at times and he gave credit to Kenya’s bat­ting.

The skip­per said he would think hard about pos­si­bly re­jig­ging the bat­ting or­der to give play­ers such as No. 5 Cameron White, who made two against Kenya, a chance to have a hit up the or­der.

‘‘ I tried a few dif­fer­ent things with the spin­ners. Bowl­ing Smith early in the pow­er­plays was just to give him some ex­pe­ri­ence there and see how he would cope with the sit­u­a­tion,’’ Ponting said.

Ponting said off-spin­ner Kre­jza bowled most of his overs around the wicket to get a feel for con­di­tions on a turn­ing pitch.

‘‘ There was a bit of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion from the spin­ners, but in say­ing that, I still would have liked to see them mak­ing some break­throughs for us,’’ Ponting said.

‘‘ Through those mid­dle overs in this tour­na­ment when the ball gets old, and the wicket starts to spin, we are go­ing to need our spin­ners to strike for us, and that didn’t hap­pen tonight.’’

Brad Haddin ( 65) and Ponting ( 36) were part of a mid­dle-or­der col­lapse as Aus­tralia lost 3-16 be­fore Michael Clarke ( 93 from 80 balls) and re­called vet­eran Mike Hussey ( 54 off 43) shared a 114-run stand, res­cu­ing the world cham­pi­ons from a shaky 4-143.

Clarke’s fourth half-cen­tury in his past five games ended when he holed out in the 49th over, seven runs short of his first World Cup hun­dred.

The vice-cap­tain av­er­ages 175 in the tour­na­ment.

Man of the match Kenya’s Collins Obuya fin­ished un­beaten on 98, two shy of his maiden hun­dred.

WIN­NERS AREN’T AL­WAYS GRIN­NERS: Ricky Ponting makes a low-key exit from the field af­ter Aus­tralia’s un­der­whelm­ing per­for­mance against Kenya

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