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Aussies admit batting against swing amiss
Joe Barton
18:43 AEST Sat Jan 19 2013

Australia's batsmen have a serious problem with swinging balls that will need to be fixed before the Ashes and the search for Mike Hussey's replacement is proving more treacherous than previously anticipated.

Coach Mickey Arthur's frank assessment of Australia's capitulation in Friday's four-wicket loss to Sri Lanka does not bode well for a demanding 18 months.

Michael Clarke's men wilted in the face of Nuwan Kulasekara's masterful spell of seam bowling - an issue certain to resurface against England's high-quality pace attack on lively wickets during the Ashes starting in July.

"I think it's something we're going to have to look at," Arthur admitted on Saturday.

"Every time the ball has swung or done something we've found ourselves in a little bit of trouble.

"I guess that comes with the new young batting group. But clearly we've got to be better than that.

"Because the ball is going to swing and spin in India and England. We've got to make sure that we get that right and get that right quickly."

Of equal concern is the misfiring middle order, which crumbled against Sri Lanka in both Adelaide and Brisbane, as the intended replacements for Hussey failed to impose themselves on the game.

Where Hussey carved out a wonderful one-day career largely built around his ability to salvage innings when the top order had been skittled, none of his touted successors could reach double digits at the Gabba.

Arthur watched the match from Perth, where he had a three-day break, and admitted it was tough viewing - especially knowing Hussey wanted to play in the series.

"Of course, Mike Hussey's got all the skills," he said.

"Mike Hussey is still one of our best one-day players, he's still an unbelievable cricketer.

"And yes, you miss those skills."

George Bailey (series average 38) and David Hussey (46.5) cashed in at the MCG in the opening match of the series, but have battled since, while Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques and Matthew Wade all scored in single figures.

"We need to find out about some other players," Arthur said.

"We need to see if any of those players have got what it takes to take Mike's massive mantle.

"... We've got players that have the ability to do that. What they need is a platform, and that platform has to come from one, two, three and four."

One player sure to come under consideration for the February five-game series against the West Indies is West Australian Shaun Marsh, one of the standout batsmen of the Big Bash tournament.

"I've been a massive believer in Shaun," Arthur continued.

"But Shaun's got to keep knocking the door down like he's doing at the moment.

"And if he continues to do that I'm pretty sure there will be another opportunity for him around the corner."


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