Clarke hopeful quicks will be fresh for Adelaide
Michael Clarke is hoping Australia's fast bowlers will be fresh for the Adelaide Test after they wrapped up victory in Perth within two and a half days. The comprehensive win not only delivered the Border-Gavaskar Trophy into Australian hands, it gave the players an eight-day break to rest after their work in oppressively hot conditions in Perth.
While the Indians will need that time to regroup following three heavy defeats and the loss of their captain MS Dhoni to a suspension for slow over-rates, Australia can enjoy the time off. The offspinner Nathan Lyon will return in Adelaide at the expense of one of the four fast men, but there appears no need to rest either Peter Siddle or Ben Hilfenhaus, both of whom have toiled tirelessly in the first three Tests.
"Two-and-a-half-day Test matches help, that's for sure," Clarke said. "I honestly believe that's probably saved a few of us to be honest. The distance the Test matches have gone gives you an extra day, in this case a few days off, so with a good week before we even get to Adelaide, I'd imagine they [the fast bowlers] will be very fresh again and looking forward to playing that Test match.
"I think the break will be wonderful for us. I think it's important we enjoy this victory again. You need to celebrate your success as a team. You've got to enjoy this time together and we'll do that. But allowing everybody to go back home for a few days and freshen up before we get to Adelaide, which is generally a tougher wicket to bowl on, I think it will do us the world of good."
Following the innings victory at the WACA, Clarke was adamant that Australia would not treat the Adelaide Oval Test as a dead rubber, despite the 3-0 series scoreline. At least two members of the batting line-up, Shaun Marsh and Brad Haddin, will be desperate for runs in the fourth Test after a lean series so far, while Clarke knows his team has a long way to go before their goals have been achieved.
"Our goal is to be the No.1 team in the world and we aren't there yet," he said. "We've got a lot of work still to do and that starts in Adelaide.
"[There's] no such thing as a dead rubber for me. We haven't achieved much at this stage. We should be very proud, don't get me wrong, to have beaten the No.2-ranked Test team in the world, in this series. We should be very proud of that. But we've got a lot of work to do before we'll be satisfied."
All the same, temporary satisfaction has arrived thanks to the manner in which the Australians have dismantled India in this series. For the second match in succession, the Australians needed to bat only once in order to secure victory, a win that came not only to the consistency of their bowlers but also the wonderful 214-run opening stand between David Warner and Ed Cowan.
The pitch was not an easy one on which to get in - Virat Kohli was the only man besides Warner and Cowan to score a half-century, and cracks made life difficult in the second innings for India. Clarke said that made the efforts of Australia's openers all the more critical, while it had been important for the bowlers to ensure Australia were not set a chase.
"I think a lot of credit needs to go to not only Davey, who batted unbelievably well out there, but also his partner Ed Cowan," Clarke said. "As an opening partnership they played really well in pretty tough batting conditions. They made it look easy but there was certainly enough out there for the bowlers, as we've seen today. Once again our bowlers deserve a lot of credit. To be able to get such a good batting order out again and take 20 wickets I think they deserve a lot of credit.
"We made a pact yesterday that our bowlers should not have to send our batters back out on that wicket in this second innings. That's very pleasing that we were able to stick to our word today. We continue to show more consistency as a team, which is very pleasing. Our execution of our skills in all three facets of the game is getting more consistent. It's a reward for the hard work we've been putting in behind the scenes."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo