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Do-or-die for Australia

Do-or-die for Australia
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Birmingham (PTI): After their meek surrender against England in their opening game, a struggling Australia will have to work on their batting...

ausBirmingham (PTI): After their meek surrender against England in their opening game, a struggling Australia will have to work on their batting frailties when they take on a confident New Zealand in a Group A match of the Champions Trophy here on Wednesday. Australia, sans their regular skipper Michael Clarke, proved to be no match to the English side as they suffered a huge 48-run defeat to start their campaign on a wrong foot. With Clarke, who is suffering from a back problem, still nowhere near making a comeback, it will be a big test for the stand-in skipper George Bailey to turn Australia's fortune around on Wednesday. Australia bowlers Clint McKay, James Faulkner and Shane Watson did a decent job in restricting England to 269 when they were looking at a 300-plus score at one stage but they still need to add more sting to their attack. The Aussie batsmen could not pose any threat to the England bowlers, who strangulated them with both pace and spin. Barring skipper Bailey and allrounder James Faulkner, none of the batsmen were up the mark. What was baffling was most of them got starts but later blew those away. The two-time champions, hence, will have to re-think about the team composition as another defeat will pave their way for an early exit from the tournament. "We need to get the balance right, we need to get partnerships going, that needs to be addressed. We have to turn around things," Bailey had said after their loss to England. New Zealand, on the other hand, are high on confidence having started their campaign on a winning note, beating Sri Lanka by one wicket. The 2000 winners came into the tournament after a morale-boosting 2-1 series win over England and they would look to carry their good form when they clash with Australia. "Michael is continuing to have intensive treatment in London, and whilst he is making good progress, he has not improved sufficiently enough to play the game against New Zealand on Wednesday," said CA physiotherapist Alex Kountouris in a statement.
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