Steve Smith frustrated after second-straight washout
THE rain was coming down just hard enough for umpires to stop play the first time in Australia's second-straight Champions Trophy washout at The Oval on Tuesday morning.
But Aussie skipper Steve Smith said there could have been a "bit more urgency" to get the covers off when the rain stopped, with his team just four overs away from securing a much-needed tournament win.
Four minutes is allotted for a team to bowl an over, meaning the Aussies, who were well ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis score in their pursuit of Bangladesh's 182, needed just 16 minutes playing time to secure two points.
The rain stopped about 7.30pm in London, and preparations began to get the covers off.
But the umpires delayed their inspection, showing too much caution.
And just as they announced a restart would take place at 8.30pm, the rain began again and Australia is now facing a must-win clash against England at Edgbaston on Saturday to guarantee progression to the finals.
"Yeah, a little bit frustrating obviously not to get a result in. You know, the groundsmen, they perhaps could have shown a bit more urgency being a big tournament," Smith said after the match.
"But you know, I think they did the best job they could, and the umpires said it was an 8.30 start, so you've got to do what the umpires say."
The players first went off just after 6.30, when a scheduled drinks break gave the umpires an avenue to leave the field.
Smith, who was at the crease with David Warner and the Aussies at 1-83, said he would have batted through the rain, but knew it wasn't his call.
"Of course I didn't want to go off. I was happy to keep batting through the rain," he said.
"But you know, obviously the umpires are there to make a decision and I think drinks was at the end of that over, which probably didn't help.
"You know, had we kept on - if the game had just carried on, perhaps they may have had a different opinion.
"But to be fair, it was raining reasonably hard when we did come off, yeah."
Cricket rules prohibit a return to the playing field if any rain at all is falling, a "you can play in the rain, but you can't start in it" rule.
Despite the washout, Smith was buoyed by the performance of his bowlers, particularly Mitch Starc, who was ultra-impressive taking the final four wickets of the Bangladesh innings in nine balls.
Smith thought it was a good sign in what has been a frustrating, stop-start tournament, and gave him fuel for excitement ahead of the must-win clash against the old enemy this weekend.
"I thought all our bowlers were a lot better today. We hit some good areas early on and challenged the defence of Bangladeshi batsmen," Smith said.
"And it was nice that we were able to turn things around from the way things went in the first game against New Zealand.
"I think it makes the equation pretty simple for us. We have to beat England and I think then it's - I think then we're through.
"I haven't really read into all the - anything else that's happened. I guess we've just got to beat England."