Middle-order batting and fielding come a cropper in the team's tour match against Sussex.
Marcus Stoinis struck a century from No.3 for Australia as the visitors warmed up for their one-day international series against England with a 57-run win over Sussex in a practice match.
Australia haven’t played a 50-over game since January, when England were on tour to their country – indeed, they haven’t played any cricket since the controversy-laden Tests in South Africa – and they were rusty after a break of over a month.
The middle order struggled, catches were dropped, and an inexperienced pace attack, in the absence of injured regulars, couldn’t make quick inroads at Brighton on Thursday, 7 June.
Aaron Finch and D’Arcy Short added a brisk 74 for the opening wicket in 10.3 overs before Finch and Stoinis combined for a 93-run stand. However, from being 167/1 in the 31st over, Australia could only get to 264.
"It's good to start a tour like that [with a hundred], but more importantly it's just fun to be out there with our mates," said Stoinis, who scored 110 in 112 balls, after the game.
"It was a tough wicket to bat on through the middle, as we saw with Sussex, but I think you’ve got to absorb a bit of pressure and accept it's a bit difficult.
“It's been a bit of a pattern of something so something we'll probably try and fix. Not feel the pressure of a few dot balls, just bat your way through it."
Helped on by the Australians’ unsuccessful efforts on the field, Sussex, coached by former Australia international Jason Gillespie, got the chase off to a good start before Ashton Agar recovered from early punishment to pull things back with three wickets as Sussex were bowled out for 220.
😅Mop my brow!— Sussex Cricket (@SussexCCC) June 7, 2018
Pure box office from @PhilSalt1! Two sixes in two balls off Agar brings up his 50 in just 33 balls. Five fours and four sixes.
68-1 off 9.2 (Salt 53*, Finch 14*), 210 to win #gosbts#SharkAttackpic.twitter.com/RnncvVuH29
"These things happen," Stoinis said of the dropped catches, shrugging it off. "First game back and all that.
“It might have worked as a bit of a blessing in disguise as it made the bowlers work a little harder for the win and put them under pressure. So you take the good with the bad."
Australia next play another tour match, against Middlesex at Lord’s, before the first of five ODIs at The Oval on June 13.
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