Versatile Carey a real keeper
ALEX Carey has already justified the faith of selectors with two contrasting innings that underline why one of Australia's World Cup babies is also its vice-captain.
The quiet achiever has been tasked with extinguishing wildly different fires with his bat - entering at 5/79 after 16 overs against West Indies, and with 115 runs needed off 60 balls against India - and Carey adapted brilliantly to both situations.
Batting at No. 7, Carey crawled to three off 26 balls against West Indies and then thumped Australia's fastest World Cup half-century (25 balls) against India to upstage his superstar teammates' match awareness.
The wicketkeeper took 15 balls to get off the mark against the Windies as he and Steve Smith survived the fiery fast bowling the top order failed against.
By seeing out the quicks at their most dangerous, Carey, Smith and then Nathan Coulter-Nile were able to punish the lesser lights as they helped build the platform for an unlikely victory at Trent Bridge.
Carey hammered five boundaries in nine balls after his cautious start, peeling off a selection of fluent cut shots and cover drives.
"He just knew that's the way he had to play in that situation," assistant coach Ricky Ponting said of Carey's 45 (54).
"He got through some hostile bowling knowing they were going to have to go to their spinner at some stage and (Carlos) Brathwaite was going to have to bowl at some stage and Jason Holder was going to have to bowl a lot of overs as well.
"He summed it up really well and a lot of the top order can learn from the way he played today."
Carey continued his boundary hunt from ball one against India, displaying aggression that some had questioned.
Carey's unbeaten 55 (35) was his best white-ball score for Australia after 41 games and got the Aussies far closer to victory than was expected.
While Carey did not bat against Afghanistan, he helped out with five dismissals from behind the stumps, although did drop Hardik Pandya on Sunday.
With the bat it was chaos against India and calm against the Windies for the former GWS captain and close friend of Essendon's Dylan Shiel.
Smith's batting maturity has also helped Australia to a 2-1 start, and it appears selectors got the 15-man squad right.
Peter Handscomb was the unlucky omission but that is now hard to argue with the selectors' refusal to consider 2015 World Cup winner Josh Hazlewood, even when Jhye Richardson (shoulder) withdrew, because of his recent dearth of white-ball remains the only real contentious point.