West Indies legend Brian Lara calls for ‘stern talk’ over underperforming batters – “(It’s) a major concern”

West Indies legend Brian Lara believes the side’s top order needs to address its poor showing across the opening two ODIs against Australia.

The Aussies sealed the series on Sunday night with an 83-run win. The third ODI will be played on February 6 at Canberra.

The West Indies disappointed in the first match with the bat, scoring just 231, and were subsequently bowled out for 175 in the SCG fixture.

Cricket icon Kerry O’Keeffe identified the top order as the main area the West Indies needed to fix.

“West Indies have things to work on, their spinners have been strong, they need their quicks to fire up and the early order batting is a concern,” he said on Fox Cricket.

Lara, who has sung the praises of Athanaze throughout the summer over his potential, agreed there needs to be a strong message going to the top order.

“(It’s) a major concern, that’s where they’ve got to look to, not necessarily make changes, but maybe have a stern talk with the youngsters up top,” he said.

“At the beginning of the innings, they want to set the innings up properly and the West Indies in both matches were finding themselves in early trouble.”

Speaking after the second ODI, West Indies captain Shai Hope didn’t believe Australia’s total of 9-258 was a bridge too far for his side.

“I wouldn’t say it’s too much,” he said at the post-match presentation.

“It was a challenging wicket as we saw, I think the Aussies bowled very well on this surface but we need to find a way to score a bit more freely, find a way to tick the ball over and put them under pressure a bit more.”

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