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Ashes lessons to be learnt from Australia's meek World Cup exit

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It was not a bad thing for Australia to lose to England in the World Cup semi-final, just as it had not been a bad thing for England to lose to Australia at Lord’s two weeks earlier.

The sting of defeat is bracing and highly motivating. Ask Freddy Fittler and his NSW Blues. In the Cricket World Cup, the losses England and New Zealand suffered in the preliminary rounds served to focus their minds on their weaknesses when there was still time to fix them. Australia and India, meanwhile, cruised into the final stages trying to maintain or rediscover form that had peaked in June.


Australia’s main campaign is the Ashes and the World Cup has provided them with an excellent preparation. Their two-format players – David Warner, Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Starc, Patrick Cummins and Nathan Lyon – all showed good form in the one-day tournament and can now turn to the real business with a nice blend of confidence in their personal performance and a desire to redeem the thorough belting they received in the World Cup semi-final.

To be frank, Australia outperformed expectations in the World Cup. They took half of a potentially Cup-winning one-day team to the tournament and needed everything to go right at Edgbaston to beat a deeper, better balanced England. Instead, nothing did, from the intervention of Aaron Finch’s front pad onwards.

Ashes-wise, this too was somewhat useful for Australia. There is always a temptation to mistake white-ball skills for red. England seem about to fall into that trap with Jason Roy. Australia had been lured, by Finch’s resurgence in one-day cricket, to consider revisiting the failed experiment in the Test series. His failures to the swinging new ball against South Africa and England have surely put paid to that, just........

© The Age