Crit­i­cism of team, cap­tain Smith just bizarre: Warner

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Aus­tralia vice-cap­tain David Warner has found it “bizarre” that pun­dits and fans con­tinue to crit­i­cise the team de­spite win­ning their last two test matches af­ter a run of five losses.

Aus­tralia beat Pak­istan by 39 runs in a thrilling fin­ish in the first test in Brisbane last week. Mis­bah-ul-Haq’s side were dis­missed for 450 on the fi­nal day at the Gabba, chas­ing a victory tar­get of 490, hav­ing coun­ter­at­tacked late on the fourth evening of the day-night Test.

They were within sight of the world’s largest suc­cess­ful run chase when Mitchell Starc ended a 71-run ninth wicket stand be­tween Asad Shafiq and Yasir Shah that ef­fec­tively ended the game.

Crit­ics, how­ever, sug­gested that Aus­tralia cap­tain Steve Smith was not ruth­less enough when he failed to im­pose the fol­low on when Pak­istan were skit­tled for 142 in their first in­nings, 287 runs short of Aus­tralia’s to­tal.

His cau­tious field set­tings on day five, with Pak­istan still need­ing 108 runs for victory with only two wick­ets in hand, were queried by for­mer cap­tains Michael Clarke and Mark Tay­lor and slammed as “ridicu­lous” by exEng­land skip­per Michael Vaughan.

“It’s bizarre peo­ple are men­tion­ing things about the way he went about the game with his field place­ments, his bowl­ing changes, the way he used Gazza (Nathan Lyon),” Warner told re­porters ahead of the sec­ond test at the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground. “At the end of the day we did win the game. There would be a lot more talk if we didn’t.”

The victory was the sec­ond for a re­vamped side af­ter se­lec­tors swung the axe fol­low­ing a run of five suc­ces­sive test losses and Warner dis­missed any no­tion the visi­tors’ fifth-day per­for­mance had given them the mo­men­tum head­ing into the test.

“Pak­istan played very well,” Warner said. “They backed them­selves and played their shots. They got into a fan­tas­tic po­si­tion to win the game. But we know that test match cricket comes down to that last day, that last hour ... and that de­liv­ery from Starcy was right on the money.

“But if they can take con­fi­dence out of los­ing I don’t know. We won the game.”

Warner did not give any hints as to the make-up of the side, with sug­ges­tions that all-rounder Hil­ton Cartwright could come into the team for bats­man Nic Maddin­son.

Cartwright could take some of the work­load off the team’s pace trio of Josh Ha­zle­wood, Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird bowled 113 overs in Pak­istan’s sec­ond in­nings. Warner, how­ever, was not con­cerned with their work­load. “All the mon­i­tor­ing and work­load is left to the ex­perts and you have to re­spect their de­ci­sion, they’re analysing all the data,” Warner added.

“If they think some­one is go­ing to break down then it’s up to them.” —Reuters

David Warner

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