Australia are heading towards next month's Ashes series with "not a great deal of confidence" according to their stand-in ODI captain, George Bailey.
Bailey, who has a reputation as a refreshingly candid cricketer, was speaking after the defeat by Sri Lanka that saw Australia eliminated from the ICC Champions Trophy with two defeats and a washout in Group A, all completed without the injured Michael Clarke.
"There is probably not a great deal of confidence there," Bailey said in a pre-Ashes statement of intent slightly lower down the scale of Australian bravado from Glenn McGrath's familiar 5-0 whitewash predictions. "But it's just a very different mindset, going from a one-day tournament to a Test series. The Ashes tends to bring out something special in both sides. Whatever can be written and said leading up into those games but until that first Test and the result of that first Test, I think that will dictate how the summer plays out."
If Bailey's words could be most favourably interpreted as a pre-Ashes rope-a-dope strategy, there was a hint of better news - just about - for Australia in his suggestion Clarke would indeed be fit for the first Ashes Test in three weeks' time.