Wounded Australia desperate for quick turnaround at Cricket World Cup

Pat Cummins and his team have no room for error when they face Sri Lanka on Monday

Australia's senior players and management during training in Lucknow. Getty
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Australia were seen by many as one of the favourites when the 2023 World Cup began but after just two matches, the five-time champions have witnessed their campaign fall apart.

The Aussies lost their first two games of the tournament heavily - by six wickets to hosts India and 134 runs to South Africa.

Despite boasting an experienced batting line-up, which includes veterans David Warner and Steve Smith, they have yet to post a total of 200. The absence of a frontline finger spinner is also hurting their bowling.

Captain Pat Cummins admitted on Sunday that Australia have their backs against the wall and must act quickly to rescue their faltering World Cup campaign.

"We're obviously 0-2, so we've got to start winning and start winning quick," said Cummins ahead of Monday's match against Sri Lanka in Lucknow.

"Every game now becomes almost like a final. You've got to win just about all of them."

No Australia batsman has made a half-century with Smith top-scoring with 46 against India and Marnus Labuschagne matching that modest mark in the rout by South Africa.

They have also been hamstrung by their fielding performances. Against India, Virat Kohli was dropped on 12 before he went on to make a match-winning 85.

It got worse against South Africa where five chances went down.

Needing 312 to win, Australia slumped to 70-6 before the dragging the total past 150, just to reduce the damage to their net run rate.

"No doubt we haven't been up to the standard that we like to hold," added Cummins.

"We've been off the mark and been outplayed in both games. It's not ideal at all. I think everyone was a little bit flat after the last game."

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka was ruled out of the World Cup because of a thigh injury and has been replaced in the squad by Chamika Karunaratne.

Shanaka sustained the injury during Sri Lanka's six-wicket loss against Pakistan on Tuesday.

The ICC said that Shanaka’s injury “needs three weeks to recover” and that the technical committee approved Karunaratne, also an all-rounder, as his replacement.

In the absence of Shanaka, vice-captain Kusal Mendis will lead the side. He led Sri Lanka in one of the two warm-up games when Shanaka was rested.

Karunaratne is already with the Sri Lanka squad in India as a traveling reserve and will be available for selection against Australia.

Updated: October 15, 2023, 12:32 PM