Australia captain Steve Smith shows his disappointment in the field.
Australia captain Steve Smith shows his disappointment in the field. Rui Vieira

Five things learned from Champions Trophy exit

AUSTRALIA'S Champions Trophy campaign is over, with the World Champions dispatched by a brutal England after a rain-affected fortnight.

But while Australia's problems with the English weather are well documented, their early exit - for the second successive Champions Trophy - was largely of their own doing.

Curious selections and questionable captaincy will be central to the post-mortem into Australia's surprise demise, and both were on show in Edgbaston.

THE STAT THAT DAMNS HENRIQUES

Statistically speaking Moises Henriques is the worst batsman in Australian one-day cricket history.

Henriques' average of 9.62 batting in the top seven is the worst of any Australian who has played at least 10 games.

Some of the world's best batsmen come into the game two wickets down: AB de Villiers bats at No.4 for South Africa, England throws skipper Eoin Morgan into the game at second drop, while New Zealand has outstanding veteran Ross Taylor fill the role.

It's a specialist batting position, and one that demands the qualities of someone who could be a team's best batsman.

The NSW all-rounder is coming off arguably his best domestic season, and dominated the Matador Cup - scoring 414 runs at 69 to help deliver the title to NSW.

But in the international arena his figures simply don't stack up. 10 innings. 81 runs. A strike rate of 68.06. A top score of 18.

FINCH STEPS UP

The two most contentious selections in the Australian team coming into this clash were Henriques and opener Aaron Finch.

There was a strong groundswell of support for the exciting Chris Lynn, who has a modest record in domestic and international 50-over cricket but is one of the world's most destructive Twenty20 batsmen.

Lynn could open or come in at No.4 - putting pressure on both Henriques and Finch to deliver.

And while Henriques came up short, Finch repaid the faith of the selectors with a vital 68 off 64 at the top of the order to lay the foundations for Australia's total.

Aaron Finch stepped up with a half-century.
Aaron Finch stepped up with a half-century. Michael Steele

RAIN, RAIN, RAIN

As Australia have become accustomed to, there was a rain delay against England.

Fortunately, it forced players off the field for only a short amount of time and didn't cause a washout - as had been the case in their two prior matches.

But the lingering hangover from those washouts remained at Edgbaston and could be used to explain Australia's stunning late-order collapse.

Travis Head played an excellent innings.
Travis Head played an excellent innings. Rui Vieira

Travis Head, who hit a brilliant, unbeaten 71, bucked the trend with a composed knock.

But Glenn Maxwell took time to get going, taking nine balls before getting off the mark, and then went for 20 to trigger an avalanche of wickets as Australia lost 5-15 and slumped from 4-239 to 9-254.

Glenn Maxwell took a long time to get off the mark before being caught superbly by Jason Roy.
Glenn Maxwell took a long time to get off the mark before being caught superbly by Jason Roy. Stu Forster

Spin king Shane Warne has described the modern trend of protecting leg spinners from left-handed batsmen as 'overrated' and 'total rubbish'.

Warne was reacting to Smith once again turning to Travis Head before throwing the ball to the team's leading tweaker - leg-spinner Adam Zampa.

The same scenario surfaced in Australia's match with Bangladesh, with Zampa coming on late and having an instant impact.

Captain Steve Smith explained his thinking on that occasion was that, with two left-handed batsmen at the crease, it was wiser to use Head's part-time off-spin as an option which takes the ball away from the left-handers.

It's a method that doesn't sit well with Warne who passionately put forward his argument that Smith shouldn't be afraid to use Zampa.

"It's absolutely ridiculous to see part-timers bowling because there's a left-hander in,” Warne said.

ENGLAND DESERVE FAVOURITISM

No total is too big for this England team, and their willingness to persevere with an all-out attack is an admirable quality.

Honestly, it's downright Australian.

England bats deep and they fear nothing, as showed by their ultra-aggressive approach to the run chase against Australia.

When Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins ripped apart England's top order - dismissing both openers and star No.3 Joe Root with just 35 runs on the board - Australia had the home side rattled.

But rather than go into their shell, as they may have done in the past, England hit back harder.

Captain Eoin Morgan played a glorious captain's knock and set the tone with a barrage of boundaries off Mitchell Starc in the first over after the rain delay.

There was no thought given to taking things slowly.

Ben Stokes on his way to a brilliant 102no.
Ben Stokes on his way to a brilliant 102no. Michael Steele

And the skipper was backed up by Stokes who was at his brutal best, smashing 13 boundaries and two sixes in his extraordinary century.

They are deserved favourites.



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