Australia are currently 4-0 down in the ongoing ODI series against England. The days when this kind of scoreline would be reversed are long gone as it seems that a young side, without their premier match-winners and the experience to fall back to, is hurting. But, they have no choice but to go out there and show immense faith that they can change their fortunes.
Ahead of the fifth ODI, the left-arm spinner Ashton Agar has come out and said, this is exactly the feeling they'll walk out on the field with. England has taken its 50-overs game to a notch higher to where Australia seems to not reach and so, the team from down-under will have to be at their "absolute best" to save themselves from the humiliation of a whitewash, said Agar.
In Manchester, Agar told the reporters, "It's going to be tough, but I absolutely believe we can beat them: we have no choice (but) to believe that we can beat them, But we need to play our very best cricket against a side that's played really well four games in a row. We have to bring our absolute best,"
"We have been outplayed, that's the truth. All we can do now is focus on us and look to improve in every area possible -- batting, bowling, fielding, cricket smarts."
Australia were hammered for 481 runs in Trent Bridge and have hardly looked threatening with the ball, right throughout the series. Agar says, the bowling attack is hurt by the same.
"They definitely would have been hurt after Trent Bridge. Everyone was, That was pretty incredible, it was a world record and unfortunately, we were on the receiving end. But we have to keep learning from those experiences and it's good to experience that now and not in a World Cup."
Agar was the lone bowler who had respectable numbers from his quota at end of the first innings at Trent Bridge and he is, "proud of the way I tried to fight back during that spell and tried to keep my cool,"
Agar also showered praise on the opponent by stating, "Their confidence, their self-belief: they ooze it out there, no doubt. They are playing like a team where everyone knows their role and they back themselves and each other to just go and do it. They have set the benchmark, no doubt."
But, Agar understands how easy it has become for a batting unit with the way ODI is played these days. He stressed on the difficulty of bowling on flat pitches, small outfields in the middle overs with just four fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle and two new balls to work with.
"With four fielders out, it makes it really hard, It's probably easier to cut the boundaries in Twenty20 cricket sometimes when you have five out, then it is in one-day cricket when you have four out, especially when batters have evolved so much to hit 360 (degrees). If batters can reverse-sweep and sweep you, well you have to protect spare boundaries, but you are trying to get them to hit down the ground so what do you do? They are scoring off your best balls all the time."
(Inputs from CricketNext)