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(CRICINFO) Australia will monitor the fitness of captain Aaron Finch ahead of the ODI series against West Indies after he picked up a knee injury during the final T20I in St Lucia.
Finch twisted his knee in the field and was significantly hampered during the Australian chase, especially when running between the wickets. His innings of 34 was ended by a spectacular catch at long-on by Fabian Allen as Australia fell 16 short to concede the series 4-1.
A Cricket Australia spokesperson said Finch had a mild knee complaint earlier in the tour, which he had fully recovered from.
The squad travels to Barbados on Saturday ahead of the three-match ODI series, which begins on Tuesday. They are already without the majority of the players who would make up their usual ODI top order so they will want Finch to be available.
Matthew Wade could potentially lead Australia if Finch were to be absent, having stood in for him during the T20I series against India last year, although there isn’t a permanent vice-captain on the tour.
Ben McDermott (quad) and Ashton Agar (hamstring) missed the latter part of the T20I series with minor injuries.
Given the nature of touring during the pandemic, Australia have a larger squad although the two travelling reserve players – Nathan Ellis and Tanveer Sangha – are bowlers, so they can’t provide any cover to the batting department.
Although the major focus of this tour was the T20I series – five more matches will follow in Bangladesh if the biosecure plans are approved – the ODIs carry World Cup Super League points. Both Australia (third) and West Indies (eighth) have so far only played six matches in the league.
Australia rung the changes for the final T20I, giving Mitchell Swepson and Andrew Tye their first outings of the tour – for Tye it was his first game since early February in the BBL – which meant 17 of the 18 players in the main squad had game time during the five matches, with only the uncapped Wes Agar not used.
Having hauled West Indies back well from a very strong position after Evin Lewis made 79 – conceding just 30 runs from the last five overs – the batting fell away again from a promising position of 95 for 2 in the tenth over.
“Thought the way we defended in the back ten overs in this game, we were staring down the barrel of 220-230, was impressive and our powerplay bowling has been pretty good in the other games,” Finch said at the post-match presentation. “We just haven’t backed it up with the bat. There’s some guys there with not a huge amount of international experience. When you are trying to stamp your authority on a game, it can be tough at times so not too critical of them.
“There’s a bit more experience at the top and we probably didn’t give them the best platform. Winning would have been nice but feel as though we have some more information and plenty of stuff to think about.”
Only Mitchell Marsh really enhanced his reputation during the series as he finished with 219 runs batting at No. 3 – the most on either side – along with eight wickets, although his success at the top of the order may only add to the logjam for those roles.
“He’s growing into his new role at No. 3 and flourished,” Tye, his Perth Scorchers team-mate, said. “I’ve never seen him execute so well with the ball. He’s put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes with his bowling and trying to become that proper allrounder. It’s the best form I’ve ever seen him with the bat. It’s everything we’ve known he’s been able to do for years and we hope he can continue.”
The bowling had moments when it stood up well; Josh Hazlewood’s performance in the opening match, Mitchell Starc’s final over to earn victory in the fourth, and Adam Zampa’s resilience under attack from West Indies’ big hitters were the highlights.