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NZ vs AUS | Andrew McDonald hints at multiple changes for third T20I after back-to-back losses

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Agar could find himself out of the playing XI

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NZ vs AUS | Andrew McDonald hints at multiple changes for third T20I after back-to-back losses

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SportsCafe Desk

03/02/2021

On the back of two consecutive losses, Andrew McDonald has hinted that Australia could make several changes to strengthen their middle-order setup, batting and bowling, where the hosts have edged past them. He also added that everyone in the squad would get their opportunity in this series.

In the first T20I of the series, Australia were on the cusp of reducing the hosts to a small total in front of a packed crowd before Devon Conway, came smashing with an unbeaten 99, which prompted questions over Australia’s effectiveness in the middle-overs. The same worry that continued to haunt them in the second T20I against the same opponent and could well be a deciding factor in the series, if they go on and lose. 

Despite coming back to the setup, Ashton Agar hasn’t done anything substantial to warrant a spot, with his bowling and batting looking lacklustre, especially in the phase Australia need someone. Australia’s stand-in head coach Andrew McDonald acknowledged the Kangaroos’ weakness, stating that there might be changes in that area of the pitch, ahead of the third clash against New Zealand. 

"We haven't got those middle overs right. That may be a reason for us to reinforce that area or make some changes that potentially strengthen that area with both bat and ball," McDonald told Cricket Australia. 

In the middle-overs phase, Australia have been outscored and outbatted by the Kiwis, who have just lost a solitary wicket on average, in comparison to the visitors’ four. Australia’s spin duo of Agar and Adam Zampa, too have come under the scanner for not coming away with crucial breakthroughs in the middle-segment, where they have lost the game. In case Australia are looking for a bowling option, they could opt for D'Arcy Short, and in case they want to strengthen their batting, they have Ashton Turner, who could play the role of a finisher. 

"Zampa at this stage hasn't gotten into the games ... (but) his quality over the last two years which suggests that the next game he probably will have an impact. It is an area that we do need to improve in if we're going to compete and beat this Kiwi side," he added.

"We're clearly trying to be aggressive as a batting unit through that period anyway, so (any changes are) more about how we defend the New Zealand batters and what match-ups we use through that period of time to get the most improvement in our performance.”

However, McDonald also stated that with a big squad of 18 players, there is a real possibility for the others to get a game in the series, with the BlackCaps leading the series 2-0 at the moment. 

"We've got a big squad of 18 players here ... every player that came on this tour (is) a live chance."

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