AUSTRALIA stand-in captain George Bailey attempted to play down their humiliation yesterday after warming up for Saturday’s Champions Trophy opener against England with a 243-run defeat to India.
The defending champions were bowled out for just 65 in Cardiff less than halfway through their allotted 50 overs, with fast-bowler Umesh Yadav plundering 5-18 for his maiden five-wicket haul in one-day cricket.
India, too, had looked vulnerable on 55-5 but a second successive century from Dinesh Karthik, who strengthened his starting XI claims with 146 not out, and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 91 swept them to 308-6.
“It was a disappointing game, I’m not sure how we’ll react to it,” said Bailey. “It was certainly not the way we wanted to play but if you’re going to have a game like that, you may as well have it in a practice game.”
This emphatic defeat was another blow for Australia, who look likely to remain without regular skipper Michael Clarke for Saturday’s clash with hosts England at Edgbaston – and possibly the rest of the tournament.
Coach Mickey Arthur moved to allay fears, however, that Clarke could even miss the Ashes with a recurrence of a back injury, which is being treated by specialists in London this week.
He said: “I am concerned but confident we will have him firing somewhere in this tournament for us and then into the Ashes.”