Mitchell Starc says Australia’s rustiness is showing after losing T20I series to England

Mitchell Starc believes Australia’s rustiness has shown in their defeats to England in the first two T20 internationals.

Eoin Morgan’s side have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series with one game to play, profiting from an Australia collapse to win the opener by two runs and then easing to a six-wicket win in the second as Jos Buttler struck an unbeaten 77.

Australia are playing their first international series since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, whereas England played West Indies, Ireland and Pakistan across the formats ahead of this T20 series.

“It’s not an excuse but coming off five months without cricket doesn’t help,” said Australia seamer Starc, who dismissed Jonny Bairstow hit wicket on Sunday.

“You can’t really simulate international matches by having nets or a centre-wicket practice. It’s slightly different to England, who have played [five] T20Is already in the last couple of months.

“T20 cricket is such a short game and those little moments we have let slip have really cost us in the long run.

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“We have been slightly off in key moments and when you play teams like England they are not going to let you grab that control back.

“There’s been plenty of good stuff with bat and ball but we’ve just been a little bit off where we want to be and I think that comes from a little bit of game time

“Hopefully now we can fix that for the third game, readjust our plans and execute a bit better than we have.”

Buttler – who will miss Tuesday’s match after being given permission to see his family – struck 44 from 29 balls in the opener and then a 38-ball half-century in the second.

“He has been damaging in the first two games and got them home with the bat,” Starc said of Buttler.

“When you get someone striking them the way he has for the last two games, it is so powerful in T20 because it’s such a short format.”

“In terms of structuring an innings, our batters are going to have their own plans and play their own way.

“But in terms of being destructive in the powerplay and getting your team through to the end, that’s probably what you want your openers to do.”

Starc insists Australia will not be treating the third T20 international as a dead rubber, suggesting batsman Josh Philippe and Riley Meredith may have to wait for debuts.

“We are still going to be trying to win – it’s not about handing out games [to players],” said seamer Starc. “If the selectors think they’re going to help us win a game of cricket then I think that’s the way to go.

“But there’s not a heap of T20 cricket before the World Cup, so you can’t waste games, whether it’s the end of the series or not.”

Australia will lose their No 1 ranking in T20I cricket if they are whitewashed by England and all-rounder Ashton Agar says they are determined to keep hold of that mantle.

“We take a lot of pride in being the No 1-ranked team in the world – it’s a great feeling and nice walking out knowing that,” said left-arm spinner Agar.

“That will spur us on but really we just want to win whatever game is in front of us. That’s what contributes to being No 1 in the world.

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