Australia’s dramatic ODI collapse against England eventuated on a wicket more akin to a day-five Test pitch than a usual white-ball surface, paceman Pat Cummins says.
Despite Aaron Finch and Marnus Labuschagne seemingly cruising in pursuit of 232, the Australian dressing room knew the target would still be tricky.
Australia defeated their arch-rivals in game one on the same wicket at Old Trafford on Friday, but this match turned on its head when quicks Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes exploited the wearing deck.
Australia lost 4-3 in 21 balls, and 7-32, from 2-144 when Finch and Labuschagne were at the crease.
“It was more like a day-four, day-five Test wicket where it’s a bit up and down,” Cummins said.
“You saw some guys bat quite well. Once you were in, you could get there, but it also felt you could squeeze and it didn’t have that true bounce you can normally expect over here.
“Having fielded 50 overs on that wicket, we knew it was going to be really hard work.
“Obviously really happy when Marnus and Aaron were going along nicely.
“But I think I heard at one stage the commentators saying ‘they’re going along beautifully, they’re walking it home’, whereas none of us were thinking that.”
Australia will have to quickly recover from the devastating defeat ahead of Wednesday’s series-decider.
It was their second batting debacle on this tour of England after losing the opening Twenty20 in similar fashion.
Superstar batsman Steve Smith is a chance to return after missing his second-straight match following a hit to the head at training on Thursday.
An Australian team spokesperson said Smith has passed two concussion tests but are taking a cautious approach given the 31-year-old’s concerning history with head knocks.