Unchanged XI, Aust batting in second T20

Australia have named an unchanged XI and opted to bat in their second Twenty20 against England, wanting to give their middle-order batsmen a sustained run.

GLENN MAXWELL
GLENN MAXWELL Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Australia have opted to bat first and stuck with the same XI as they seek to level their three-match Twenty20 series against England.

Aaron Finch and counterpart Eoin Morgan have both named unchanged teams in Southampton, where the latter suggested he was keen to bowl first.

Finch's team trail 1-0 in the series, having paid the price for a terrible collapse of in the opening clash.

"For the majority of the game we played it really well. There's a lot more to 40 overs of cricket than one or two overs with the bat," Finch said at the toss.

The visitors want to put an emphasis on stabilising their middle order in white-ball cricket after Friday night's calamity against England.

Australia's middle lost 4-9 in their pursuit of 161 to claim the first game of the three-match series, throwing away a 98-run opening stand between David Warner and Finch.

With the game on the line, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Warner and Alex Carey all fell quickly, before Marcus Stoinis and Ashton Agar struggled to maintain the tempo required.

Worryingly for Australia the two-run loss was not the first of its kind.

In their only other defeat in the T20 format in the past 18 months, they lost 4-19 against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in February.

On that occasion Australia had the equation down to 55 from 42 balls before they ended up losing by 12 runs.

The issues were also there on a one-day tour of India earlier this year, where the lower-middle order couldn't find boundaries late.

There is a suggestion part of the problem stems from the fact the majority of the team bat at the top in the Big Bash and domestic matches.

"It's something we've spoken about for exactly that reason," vice-captain Pat Cummins said.

"You could argue that middle order role is one of the hardest in any cricket team. That's what we've identified, we've got to give guys a go.

"Someone like MS Dhoni, he was one of the best in the world because he played 3-400 ODI games.

"You saw during this week practice games we gave a lot of guys a go in that. We know it's not going to happen overnight.

"That's been a common theme that selectors and (captain Aaron) Finchy have spoken about: we'll identify roles and give them a long run in that."

Australia XI: Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

England XI: Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Tom Banton, Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.