England limited overs coach Ashley Giles has defended Ravi Bopara after he failed to see England to victory in the fifth one-day international in Adelaide.
Bopara opted for caution after he was left with the tail as England collapsed in pursuit of 217 for nine.
The 28-year-old, who has 99 ODI appearances, hit 25 from 44 balls before he was controversially given out stumped by the television umpire following a freak dismissal.
His exit left last pair Chris Jordan and James Tredwell with nine runs to get from eight balls, a task they could not manage as England lost by five runs.
Bopara's reticence to finish matters more confidently therefore appeared costly, although Giles had sympathy for a player who has performed admirably under him since he took over the short-form coaching role 14 months ago.
"It was a tricky situation," he said.
"A lot has been said about Ravi's cricket but I can only go on what he has played during my time as coach and he has been very good for the side.
"In the Champions Trophy he did well and okay at the end of our summer. He struggled on this tour with the bat and that can happen but he is a very useful cricketer.
"The situation he went in, we had just lost a couple of quick wickets. The two guys were in and suddenly he was put under the pump a bit.
"We know it was not easy on this wicket to start playing your shots. In the end he could have been a hero but it was one of the strangest dismissals I have ever seen in my life."
Bopara was given out after Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade spilled the ball onto the stumps.
Replays showed Bopara's foot was in the air when the ball hit the stumps, although it appeared he might have recovered his ground by the time the bail was dislodged.
"I don't know how that happened," Giles said.
"Our jobs as coaches is to try and improve all these individuals.
"It is a mixture of keeping them confident, keeping them keen by sometimes treating them mean. It is a real balance."
Bopara has been criticised before for not seeing England home in tight games - most notably last year's Champions Trophy final.
Giles believes winning games with the bat is a learned art and pointed out that Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler - two of England's best finishers - were also unable to complete the job at the Adelaide Oval.
"It is something with experience you get better at and becomes easier," he said.
"We have guys who have done it before. Morgan and Buttler have done it before.
"It was fairly difficult conditions but by no means was it impossible and we just needed to keep calm and make strong decisions.
"There were a number of times when we lost a wicket and you thought we were behind the eight ball but a little partnership or boundary brought us back in it but another poor decision or poor shot would happen and that is what cost us in the end."
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