New Zealand cautious over Ferguson fitness ahead of T20 World Cup

Matthew Wade says a crushing defeat to England in the last T20 World Cup was a “lightbulb moment” for Australia as the two sides prepare to do battle in a three-match series.

England hammered Australia by eight wickets with 50 balls to spare in the group stage of the T20 World Cup last year, but Aaron Finch’s side went on to win the title for the first time.

Australia opted to go with a longer batting line-up after that crushing loss rather than pick five bowlers and reaped the rewards, beating New Zealand in the final.

The holders start the defence of their crown on home soil against the Black Caps at the SCG on October 22, but before then they take on an England side who are among the favourites to dethrone them.

Wicketkeeper-batter Wade feels the manner in which they were dismantled by England was a “turning point”.

He said ahead of the opening match of the series at Perth Stadium: “They destroyed us in the World Cup. It was probably a turning point for the way we go about playing T20.

“We had to start to go a little bit harder, especially towards the top and then back end it with seven batters. We stuck to that formula after they destroyed us in the World Cup.

“So we’re looking forward to playing them and see whether our game style [continues to work] – since then [it] has changed a little bit and hopefully we can go blow for blow with them.

“We’ve got seven batters now – we played six batters for a long time … but now we’ve got the power and we’ve got the depth of batting that I think you need to go with a team like England. You need to be able to score 200 to beat them on their day.”

Captain Jos Buttler returns for a calf injury to lead England and Test skipper Ben Stokes is back after missing the 4-3 series win in Pakistan, but Liam Livingstone (ankle) remains sidelined.

England have won four of the past five T20Is between the two fierce rivals, but Australia have been victorious in seven of the last eight contests on home soil.

Smith in the spotlight

Australia completed a 2-0 whitewash of West Indies at The Gabba on Friday, but Steve Smith missed out once again as he fell for 17.

The former captain has not scored a T20I half-century since November 2019 and could do with some runs against England.

With Tim David having staked his claim for a place in the side and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis returning, Smith is in the spotlight.

Hales and Salt battling for opening berth

The return of Buttler at the top of the order means England will have to choose between Alex Hales and Phil Salt for the other opening spot.

Hales made a half-century in his long-awaited England comeback in the first match of the series against Pakistan, but fell for under 20 on three occasions.

Salt blasted a stunning unbeaten 88 from 41 balls in the sixth T20I in Lahore, but it remains to be seen if he will retain his place.

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