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Bailey bemoans low spirits

George Bailey admits confidence within the Australia camp is running dry following their early elimination from the Champions Trophy.

The holders were knocked out of the competition at the group stage after a 20-run defeat to Sri Lanka at The Oval yesterday.

Having already lost to England in their first Group A fixture, Australia then fell victim to the weather in a no result with New Zealand, meaning they had to beat Sri Lanka comfortably to reach the semi-finals.

Given Sri Lanka posted 253 for eight, Australia needed to win in 29.1 overs to qualify with a superior net run-rate to New Zealand. They made a brisk start before being dismissed for 233 in the 43rd over.

After coming into the Champions Trophy on the back of a 4-0 Test series defeat in India, Australia's failure to win a match in this tournament means they will be stuttering, rather than strutting in to the Investec Ashes.

"You're probably right, there is probably not a great deal of confidence there," said Bailey, who stood in for injured skipper Michael Clarke for the third straight game, when it was put to him that spirits were low.

Bailey thinks Australia were fighting a losing battle once they lost to England by 48 runs in their first group game.

"We said at the start that you need to start the competition well in order to get your confidence up so losing to England was a major cock-up," Bailey said.

"The weather then played its part unfortunately, that was a bit of bad luck because we posted a good score (before rain stopped play against New Zealand) but that's part of the game I guess. There's not much more we could have done."

Bailey said that Clarke, who has been suffering back problems, is likely to return for Australia's Ashes warm-up match against Somerset at Taunton from June 26.

Sri Lanka’s reward for beating Australia is a semi-final with India at Cardiff on Thursday, 24 hours after England host South Africa at The Oval in the other semi.

Sri Lanka had Mahela Jayawardene to thank for victory. The veteran batsman passed 11,000 ODI runs with a responsible knock of 84 off 81 balls.

It was only in the dying stages of Sri Lanka's innings that Jayawardene upped his scoring rate as he chose to anchor the innings following the early dismissals of Kumar Sangakkara and Kusal Perera.

Australia tried to seize on Jayawardene's slow tactics by sledging the batsman in the final few overs, with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and Jayawardene both exchanging barbs before becoming involved in a heated discussion as they left the pitch following Sri Lanka's innings.

"It was nothing much, just a bit of banter," Jayawardene said.

"He said something about the way I was batting in the last few overs and I told him not to worry because it was all part of the plan. I guess I had the last laugh."

Bailey, perhaps mindful of Australia's recent disciplinary problems, tried to stop the pair bickering as they left the field, pictured above.

Australia's stand-in skipper said: "I'm not sure how that started, or what it was about. At the end of the innings I tried to cool it down. They are both passionate people, and everyone loves to play with them."

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