Aussies have point to prove in final T20 international
TRAVIS Head says Australia's Twenty20 second-stringers must stand up, retrieve respect and avoid a demoralising, summer-ending whitewash against Sri Lanka in Adelaide on Wednesday night.
Australia entered the home season smarting from a 5-0 away, 50-over hiding against South Africa. Aaron Finch's T20 ensemble is now fighting to avoid a 3-0 series result against Sri Lanka.
A consolation win in Adelaide is essential to restore national team cachet ahead of Australia's Test series opener against India starting in Pune on Thursday.
"We have to come back strongly, the two games have been close but in those big moments we haven't played well and they have cost us two games on the last ball," said batsman Head.
"It's disappointing to be 2-0, we have come into the series wanting to win and it hasn't been the case. We have a point to prove. Wednesday night it would be good to get some respect back."
Undefeated Asela Gunaratne (84, 46 balls) single-handedly sealed a two-wicket win and decisive series scoreline 2-0 on Sunday night in Geelong. Gunaratne peeled 48 runs off the final three overs bowled by James Faulkner, Moises Henriques and Andrew Tye including a final ball boundary.
All-rounder Gunaratne's "freak" innings rescued the visitors from 5/40 chasing 174 to win and left Finch's men wondering how the game slipped.
"They have been close and nail-biters but moments in the game we should have been better and in T20 cricket it can cost you," said Head.
There are no excuses for Australia's T20 unit - coached by Justin Langer and assistant Jason Gillespie - despite the absence of star trio Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitch Starc in India.
"It gives opportunity for guys like Michael Klinger, people want to see if he's up to international standard which he has been. Ashton Turner's first two games have been fantastic," said Head with Klinger impressed in his belated international call-up with knocks of 43 and 38 opening with Finch.
"The Test guys are preparing for a massive tour and there is no reason why we shouldn't have won the last two games.
"There's guys who want to prove themselves in international cricket."
Head cracked a maiden one-day ton (128) on Australia Day in Adelaide against Pakistan which included the second highest opening partnership of 286 with David Warner. The left-hander is glad to be back home.
"It is pretty special to play in front of my country where I have had some success so I love playing at Adelaide Oval," said Head.
"I feel in good touch whether it's in the middle of the innings or in early. Hopefully I can do a job."
Australia left-out Adam Zampa despite the leg-spinner taking 2/26 in the series opener at the MCG. Zampa and big Billy Stanlake could both return for the dead rubber clash at the ground they call home for the Redbacks and Strikers respectively.
Debutant Jhye Richardson shined on debut with 1/24 against Sri Lanka in Geelong.