Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 3rd day December 3, 2011

Clarke wants clarity on bad light


Australia's captain Michael Clarke has said the first two days of the first Test against New Zealand were called off in conditions that were not dangerous, and believes a clearer distinction must be drawn between light that is potentially harmful to players and light that is merely difficult.

Clarke spoke with the umpires Asad Rauf and Aleem Dar at the end of the first day, asking them if that standard would be maintained throughout the match. An identical light meter reading brought the teams off on day two with blue sky still visible above the Gabba, prompting Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland to take up the issue with the ICC.

Test cricket's ongoing health is hurt by the hasty decisions to interrupt play, and Clarke agreed the players could have stayed on the field in Brisbane for longer on each of the first two days.

"It's a tough one. You set a standard with day one and then that's how it stays for the whole Test," Clarke said after making 139 on day three. "I think we as players need to be told to understand a little better what we're trying to do. If we say we're going to play on until it is dangerous, then you can keep going a little bit longer.

"As a batsman it is the hardest time to bat, no doubt when you come in, it's overcast, the lights are on and have taken effect. But is it dangerous? Probably not. So it is a tough mix but what has happened in South Africa and here is you set your standard on day one, so you get your light meter and say 'this is what we're going to go to' and you stick with that throughout the game. I like the consistency, but it is about to what level we're going to take it."

Clarke has found rich vein of form - his century was his third in six innings - and he has also been encouraged by the progress of the team, which has gradually overpowered New Zealand over the course of three days.

"A little bit of luck goes a long way and helps, but most importantly a really good day from us, from the team," Clarke said. "Ricky [Ponting] yesterday was outstanding and would've been disappointed not to make a hundred, Brad Haddin outstanding and our tail wagged as well. James Pattinson looked really good, picking up an important wicket. So very nice personally to make some runs, but more importantly for our team we're in a really good position in this Test match."

Ponting's 76 was another instance of the former captain failing to go on to a century - he has now gone 29 Test innings without one, but it was his second consecutive healthy score following his 62 in the second innings in Johannesburg.

"I thought he batted really well in South Africa in that second innings, and he continued on from there, so he's brought some momentum home with him, and it was really nice," Clarke said. "I thought that ball today was going to just get over leg stump and I tried to use the referral. I'm sure he's disappointed he didn't make a hundred, but he's not far away, that's for sure."

Similarly encouraging was Haddin's 80, after he was elevated to be vice-captain in the absence of Shane Watson. Not so long ago Haddin was being interrogated ferociously about his future.

"I think he took a lot of satisfaction out of the second innings in South Africa, no doubt he felt like he was under pressure, needed to perform and he's been working hard for a while now," Clarke said. "I think it was a real positive for him, and then coming into the summer he's trained hard and his confidence is back up.

"You see how he played, that's how Hadds plays at his best and there's going to be times he gets out playing his shots, but when he's positive in his mind and attacking in the way he plays, I think that is when he has the most success. Hadds is a senior player and a leader in the team, so he doesn't need a c or vc beside his name, he knows he's a very important senior player in the team, and he responds to that consistently. It is an extra bonus he's been given the vice-captaincy, but it won't make any difference if he hasn't got that."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ed on December 3, 2011, 22:11 GMT

    Clarke was terrified during bad light in the last ASHES series, and he was petrified that Anderson or Tremlett or Finn was going to clobber him, twice he went off in very good light. Maybe next time they'll just work him over with some short stuff a bit more - which will make great test cricket viewing. On a slightly more serious note. The umpires are directly contributing to a downturn in ticket sales, everyone who goes to a test match these days, KNOWS that they will get a short days play even if a tiny cloud appears on the horizon. C'mon ICC - SORT THIS out for the good of the game.

  • Peter on December 3, 2011, 22:05 GMT

    @gothetaniwha. I was at the Gabba the first 2 days and let me share that the light on day 1 was really bad and a thunderstorm was imminent (followed just minutes after they went off). Day 2 was totally different, half an hour after they went off and play was supended, there was full on sunshine on the ground much to the annoyance of the majority of the crowd who remained due to the light being so good. This is the clarity I am assuming Clarke means. One day was really dark, the next had visible clear sky around the clouds.

  • Dennis on December 3, 2011, 20:50 GMT

    Funny how he,s asking for clarity over players leaving the field for bad light when he was quick to get off when he was batting on day one .

  • syed naveed on December 3, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    india is going to hav an important series ahead with australia, aus batsmen are getting back in form,indian players one by one will get out of frame from that series as they did in the england series.the pakistani umpires are doing a wonderful job in the centre,and they two are the best in the business these days.players think twice before challenging their decission.

  • Ahsan on December 3, 2011, 17:27 GMT

    It's an alarm for India that Michael Clarke is back into form, so are Ricky & Brad.... Mike Hussey will give them hard times as usual. Shane Watson & century maker on debut Shaun Marsh will up the scoring early in their innings. They have Usman Khawaja & David Warner as a back up. Bowling is firing with half a dozen fast bowlers hitting the deck in right areas. Michelle Johnson, Shane Watson, Pattinson, Ryan Harris & Peter Siddle can bowl some nasty bouncers on fast pitches. Lyon has developed a habit of taking wickets on pitches offering no help to spinners

  • Dummy4 on December 3, 2011, 15:30 GMT

    @ Test_cricket_only, I am a dioe hard aussie fan and has watched all the Ryobi and sheild matches. i cna say the young brigade batsmen is not ready yet. they are greta prospects like Lynn, Nic madinson, but need a lot of domestic matches under their belt. That would be a ideal 2 - 3 years of domestic matches. We all witnessed Hughe' s form. I have nothing against this youngster but his ocaasional flashes of brilliance is not helping aussies cause. the last 20 years aussies had the best batting lineups like Boon- Marsh, Slater- taylor, Blewett-slater,Slater- langer and Langer- hayden. Even in the early 2000 Jaques and hayden were doing good. Jettisoning katich, Rogers, Jaques and hodges for youngsters like hughes, Khwaja and Warner sounds nonsensical.These young men look raw and needs a lot of fine tuning in the doemstic circuit, rushing them fast could do more harm to australlian cricket than good in the long run.

  • Dummy4 on December 3, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    Australia now have a very ASTUTE captain. Congrats yet again Michael J Clarke

  • Tanmay on December 3, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    When has Clark batted in bad light....he was first to run back to pavilion during Ashes last year...

  • david on December 3, 2011, 12:57 GMT

    is legend better than the greatest. thought a legend should either be retired or dead, i suppose. dpk

  • The on December 3, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    @TCO, as a selector would you prefer he was slagging off his incumbent players and talking down their chances of being in the team next week??

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