Australia have declared their intention to keep raising the bar on performances in this World Cup, going on from a lopsided opening victory over England to achieve perfection before the tournament is out.
As the hosts enjoyed the second of two days off in the surrounds of their Brisbane hotel on Tuesday, Mitchell Johnson borrowed from the rhetoric common around Australian teams during the incomparable era of 1995 to 2008, when winning bred confidence and more wins. The MCG victory made it eight ODI wins in succession – most of them under George Bailey’s captaincy – and the looming return of Michael Clarke is set to strengthen the XI further.
“It was a pretty short meeting after the game,” Johnson said of the coach Darren Lehmann’s post-match discussion in Melbourne. “But we can always get better at certain things, the thing was to not lose wickets so closely together and with the fielding we probably just dropped off towards the end. Throughout the whole match we did a lot of things that we wanted to and got the result that we wanted. We want to keep getting better throughout this tournament, we want to play perfect cricket.
“We’ve been playing very good one-day cricket for a while now. The guys’ confidence is up, the way we batted … we posted a good total, I think it was a bit better than par. But then we were able to go out there and perform with the ball, and the fielding through most of that innings was outstanding and that’s going to be a key through most of this tournament.
“I like having a few days off, it’s been good to get here and relax and enjoy a win against England. I know most of the boys were nervous before that game [but] plenty of energy when we got out into the field and you could probably see that from the sidelines. We get used to the temperature, the humidity and then get back into training for Saturday.”
Johnson was a spellbound spectator for much of Australia’s previous World Cup victory in 2007, a surplus component of a squad that sailed through undefeated and unchallenged in the Caribbean. Their greatest hold up to victory back then was the muddled interpretation of rain rules in the final at Kensington Oval in Barbados, delaying the march to the trophy for longer than any opponent.
“As players I guess you want to keep a winning side, but it’s up to the selectors,” Johnson said. “I remember in the West Indies being on the sidelines and watching, I was ready the whole time, I was doing everything I could to make sure I was ready if that opportunity arose so I think that’s what the guys need to do when they’re not in the playing 11.
“It’s always hard, you want to get out there and play in a World Cup especially when it’s at home, it would be an amazing feeling for those guys to play but you just have to make sure you’re prepared as much as you can be and if performances don’t come up to scratch there might be an opportunity. But at the moment, from my point of view you’re playing in a team that’s winning.