Australia’s cricketers can breathe a sigh of relief in the Caribbean after their COVID tests returned negative results.
On Sunday night, Matthew Wade captained Australia for the first time in the second T20 match against India.
A surprise to some, he was selected ahead of the ODI wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey for the three-match T20 series. He was named as the vice-captain to Australian opener Aaron Finch.
Finch, who had been in great form during the one-day internationals with scores of 114, 60 and 75, captained the first T20 game but sustained an injury that ruled him out of the second.
Australia had now lost both of their openers after David Warner was also unavailable due to straining his groin in a fielding incident during the second ODI.
This threw Wade into the deep end, although he does have domestic experience, being the current captain of Tasmania and also the Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL.
Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bowl. However Australia got off to a flying start. Wade seemed to relish his new role with a blistering 58 off just 32 balls, only coming unstuck by a comical run out where he struck the ball straight to Kohli and was almost walking off the ground not realising the Indian captain had dropped the catch.
Australia went on to make a respectable 5-194.
Having won the first T20 in Canberra, India were looking to claim the series in Sydney. They were successful, largely due to a half century from Shikhar Dhawan and a brilliant 42 not out off 22 balls at the end by Hardik Pandya.
The Indians needed 14 runs from the final over to seal the series victory. However, it is staggering that Wade chose the debutant Daniel Sams to bowl it. Bowling at the end of a match takes nerves of steel at the best of times, especially for a lad playing in his first T20 international game.
Granted, it would have been a hard task to hold Pandya back, as he seemed to have the ball on a string. With the Aussies missing their main pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, it would have been a tough decision for the stand-in captain to make.
Sean Abbott, though not having that many more international matches under his belt, only bowled two overs for the match but was rather economical, having only gone for 17 runs. He might have been a more suitable choice at the end.
Another option might have been to save an over from the more experienced cool head of Adam Zampa, who had ended with the figures of 1-36.
We can only speculate whether Wade intentionally bowled his debutant at the death, or whether it was a miscalculation. Either way, it didn’t pay off for the Aussies, who have now lost the series.