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Secret to Aussie skipper silencing critics

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The secret to Australian captain Aaron Finch finding form was closer than he thought.

David Warner thought he saw something in Aaron Finch’s batting set-up that was contributing to the Australian T20 captain’s “lean patch” during the Indian Premier League so he reached out.

His technical advice proved telling for the under-fire skipper who plundered his biggest international T20 score in more than a year as Australia smashed Sri Lanka in the opening match in Colombo.

A badly cut finger that could keep strike bowler Mitchell Starc out of the second match on Wednesday night was the only downside in the 10-wicket smashing as Finch (61 not out) and Warner (70 not out) easily reeled in the home team’s target of 128.

Four wickets for Josh Hazlewood and three to Starc rattled the Sri Lankan batting order, but it was the effort of Finch, who had made just two half-centuries in his previous 19 international T20 innings, that stood out.

Silencing the critics who felt the skipper shouldn’t be at the helm for Australia’s T20 World Cup defence later this year, Finch hit four fours and four sixes, benefiting from words of advice from his long-time opening partner.

Warner said he and Finch always exchanged messages, but he identified some things during the IPL that he thought could help his opening partner rediscover his best.

“I sent him a few text messages during the IPL, I told him to not walk out to the ball, to let the ball do its work in the air,” Warner said after the win.

“He was moving too much and walking into the line of the ball and was still moving at the time of the delivery. When you are a batter you don’t want to be going that unless you are physically charging.

“I just kept in touch with him, we always do. We always support each other as much as we can.”

Warner said he could tell Finch’s “energy” was different in the opening match of the tour, with two more T20s and three ODIs to come for the opening duo before two Tests for Warner.

“For Finchy it’s about keeping it simple and not moving too much around the crease and I think we saw that tonight,” he said.

“He played some nice shots, he timed the ball well and that’s when he’s at his best, when he is nice and still. He looked to hit everything down the ground when the ball was in his area, he slog sweeps, which he is very good at, but all in all it was great to see him out there.

“The energy was different with him, you could see it in the running between the wickets, he was up and about.”

Warner said it was “crazy” that Starc returned to the field after slicing his finger open and doubted he would be ready for the next game.

“He slit his finger open it was crazy for him to come back out and finish his spell,” he said.

“They’ll assess (Starc) to see if he needs stitches or if he can glue it up and be ready (for the next match), but I’m probably doubting that.”

Originally published as Technical coaching from David Warner helps Aaron Finch find form in Sri Lanka

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