x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Champions Trophy: Australia confidence low, says George Bailey

Stand-in captain says his side have taken a beating after exit from the tournament following 20-run defeat to Sri Lanka.

George Bailey, who was run out for four, failed to lead Australia to the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. Philip Brown / Reuters
George Bailey, who was run out for four, failed to lead Australia to the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. Philip Brown / Reuters

George Bailey concedes confidence within the Australia camp is running dry following their early elimination from the ICC Champions Trophy.

Australia were knocked out of the ODI competition on Monday night after a 20-run defeat to Sri Lanka at the Kia Oval.

Having already lost to England in their first Group A fixture, Australia then fell victim to the weather in their washed out draw with New Zealand, and they were unable to chase down a target of 254 on Monday against Sri Lanka, who edged to a nervous win to set up a semi-final clash against India.

After coming in to the Champions Trophy on the back of a recent 4-0 Test series defeat in India, Australia's failure to win a match in this competition – not to mention their off the field troubles – mean the Baggy Greens will be stuttering, rather than strutting in to the Ashes, much to England's delight.

"You're probably right, there is probably not a great deal of confidence there," said Bailey, who stood in for Michael Clarke, the injured captain, for the third straight game on Monday, when it was put to him that spirits were low.

The draw against New Zealand meant Australia were up against it if they were to progress to the final four.

Only a comprehensive win over Sri Lanka would mean they overtook New Zealand's run-rate and secure a place in the last four.

They needed to reach 254 within 29.1 overs to secure second place in Group A, but they fell 20 runs short with seven and half overs left despite a 41-run last wicket partnership between Clint McKay (30) and Xavier Doherty (15 not out).

Bailey thinks Australia were fighting a losing battle once they lost to England by 48 runs in their first group game.

"We said at the start that you need to start the competition well in order to get your confidence up so losing to England was a major cock-up," Bailey said.

"The weather then played its part unfortunately, that was a bit of bad luck because we posted a good score [before rain stopped play against New Zealand] but that's part of the game I guess. There's not much more we could have done."

Bailey said that Clarke, who has been suffering back problems, is likely to return for Australia's pre-Ashes warm-up match against Somerset at Taunton on June 26.

Sri Lanka will face India in Cardiff on Thursday, 24 hours after England host South Africa at the Oval in the other semi-final.

Sri Lanka had Mahela Jayawardene to thank for victory on Monday. The veteran batsman passed 11,000 runs in one-day internationals with a responsible knock of 84 off 81 balls.

It was only in the dying stages of Sri Lanka's innings that Jayawardene upped his scoring rate as he chose to anchor the innings following the early dismissals of Kumar Sangakkara and Kusal Perera.

Australia tried to seize on Jayawardene's slow tactics by sledging the batsman in the final few overs, with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and Jayawardene both exchanging barbs before becoming involved in a heated discussion as they left the pitch following Sri Lanka's innings.

"It was nothing much, just a bit of banter," Jayawardene said. "He said something about the way I was batting in the last few overs and I told him not to worry because it was all part of the plan.

"I guess I had the last laugh."

Bailey, perhaps mindful of Australia's recent disciplinary problems, tried to stop the pair bickering as they left the field. "I'm not sure how that started, or what it was about," he said.

"At the end of the innings I tried to cool it down. They are both passionate people, and everyone loves to play with them."

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