Australia coach Justin Langer hopes his side will be better for a “brutal” and record-breaking defeat by England in the third one-day international in Nottingham on Tuesday that was “nothing like” anything he had ever seen before.
England piled up 481 for six; the highest ever total in men’s ODI history, following hundreds by Alex Hales (147) and Jonny Bairstow (139), with Jason Roy (82) and skipper Eoin Morgan, who made a quickfire 67, also taking part in the Trent Bridge run-spree.
In reply, world champions Australia were dismissed for just 239 as England won by 242 runs — their heaviest victory and Australia’s largest defeat, in terms of runs, at this level.
Langer said Australia, now 3-0 down in the five-match contest against 2019 World Cup hosts England, “can’t have had a worse day” as they suffered a 14th defeat in 16 completed ODIs.
Amid a welter of depressing statistics for the tourists, England hit a staggering 21 sixes and 41 fours, while Australia paceman Andrew Tye’s nine wicketless overs cost 100 runs.
Former Australia batsman Langer admitted the crushing reverse which condemned his side to their fourth straight bilateral series defeat in this format, topped even an extraordinary 2006 ODI that saw South Africa make 438 for nine in reply to Australia’s 434 for four at Johannesburg’s Wanderers ground.
“It’s a shock,” said a stunned Langer. “That is literally England at its best. It’s no fluke that they are No.1 in the world. I’ve never seen nothing like that. I was in Johannesburg when Australia got 400 and South Africa then got it, but that was just brutal,” he added.
“Hopefully our young guys can learn from it — it doesn’t get harder than that.”
Australia are, however, in England without six first-choice players.
Former captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner, two of the world’s best batsmen, are serving year-long bans for their roles in March’s ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town — which also led to then coach Darren Lehmann’s resignation and his subsequent replacement by Langer.
In addition, the Ashes-winning fast-bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are all injured, as is all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. The upshot is that Langer has still to enjoy an international win as Australia coach.
“I’ve known what the task is before this game, it’s to build a team and to get better,” said Langer, once a mentor to former England captain-turned-administrator Andrew Strauss when they both played for Middlesex.
“I’ve got massive respect for England and the way they are playing their cricket,” added the 47-year-old West Australian, saying the top three of Roy, Bairstow and Hales reminded him of the celebrated trio of Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting who all played key roles in Australia’s 2003 and 2007 World Cup wins.
“Their top three are brutal,” said Langer. “The way they are playing is reminiscent of how we used to play in our day with Gilly, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting at the top.”
But Langer was adamant Australia should not have been bowled out with 13 overs left in their innings on the “best batting track in the world” on Tuesday.
“We’ve got to bat against the top and against spin,” he said. “For us to get bowled out in the 37th over on the best batting track in the world — there was huge missed opportunities there for some of our batters. Can’t have had a worse day.”
Meanwhile, Langer said his job was to boost the morale of all his side ahead of Thursday’s fourth ODI at Chester-le-Street, the headquarters of northeast county side Durham.
“I have to look after them all, These are the days when you are like a dad not a headmaster. We’ll look after them. It was a tough day but we’ll keep chipping away at it tomorrow.”