LONDON (Reuters) - Australia are primed and ready to take on a dangerous England side in the white ball series that starts on Friday with the first of three T20 internationals, says head coach Justin Langer.
Langer watched his players go hard at it in two intra-squad warm-up match in Southampton on Tuesday, with Marnus Labuschagne and Alex Carey smashing rapid centuries in the second encounter.
It highlights the batting depth at Langer’s disposal, but he is aware that England also have destructive run makers.
“England are dangerous. I watched the way Eoin Morgan plays. It’s exciting to watch, he comes out and smacks it from ball one,” Langer told a news conference on Wednesday.
“They have got some good young players, and they’ve brought in some of their more experienced players. We know they have been the best one day team in the world for a few years now.
“We came here two years ago and got smashed 5-0 and came here last year and won two of the three but didn’t win the big one in the (World Cup) semi-final. We know what to expect and we will be ready for it.”
Langer has a plethora of batting options up his sleeve with Labuschagne pushing for a first T20 cap.
“Labuschagne’s innings was absolutely sublime; it was brilliant to watch. He was hitting Pat Cummins, the world’s best, over point for six,” Langer said.
“All we can ask for is that guys bang so hard they are putting pressure on the guys in there.
“At the moment they (Aaron Finch and David Warner) are the best opening combination in the world in T20 and one day cricket. When you have Steve Smith, the best batsman in the world, and best opening combination, it’s hard to break into that. But hardcore competition is what we’ve based our success on.”
Langer said Australia have come a long way since the 5-0 hammering by England two years ago when their reputation was in tatters after the ball tampering scandal that resulted in lengthy bans for Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
“The team had made a terrible judgment in South Africa and individually, and collectively, we paid the price,” said Langer, who came in to steady the ship and has taken Australia to the top of the test and T20 rankings.
“We came here with a very young team because of the circumstances and, gosh, that put hairs on their chest to lose 5-0 in England. It was that one last punch from ‘Mother Cricket’ saying ‘you guys made a mistake, make sure you remember it.’
“But we’ve earned back respect internationally and we’ve made Australians back home proud of us.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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