Australia need momentum for Ashes - Clarke
Australia must turn around their form in the three one-day internationals against Sri Lanka so they can enter the Ashes with some momentum, according to Michael Clarke. The Australians opened their home season with a demoralising seven-wicket loss to Kumar Sangakkara's men in Sunday's Twenty20 at the WACA, less than a month from the first Ashes Test.
It was Australia's first Twenty20 loss at home, and their fifth consecutive defeat across all formats, stretching back to July's Test series against Pakistan. That is hardly the form they want heading in to the battle to regain the urn and Clarke, who captained the Twenty20 outfit, said it was important to use the ODI series to change their fortunes.
"You want to win every game you play, in all three forms of the game," Clarke told reporters in Perth after the game. "I was told in the press conference we had won 10 out of 10 in this form of the game in Australia, so it is disappointing to lose our first Twenty20 game in Australia.
"It is important that we play good cricket and win these games against Sri Lanka to build momentum into the Test series against England. We need to improve, there is no doubt about it. We are not getting the results we would like in all three forms and we need to get better and keep working on our game, individually and as a team and keep working on the areas that aren't as good as they need to be."
Clarke opened the batting at the WACA and battled to 16 from 19 balls, which contributed to the team's below-par total. However, he was far from alone and it wasn't until Brad Haddin and Steven Smith combined for a counter-attacking sixth-wicket stand that the Australians began to find some touch.
"I thought it was the right decision for the team," Clarke said of opening alongside David Warner. "I made that decision, unfortunately we didn't score enough runs tonight. I felt good. Both Dave and I hit six balls in the first three overs out of the middle of the bat, but straight to the field, which was a little bit disappointing. If they find the gap we are off to a decent start."
Australia rested Michael Hussey and Mitchell Johnson, who instead turned out for Western Australia in a Sheffield Shield match at Adelaide Oval. It wasn't an enjoyable experience for Hussey, who made a golden duck, and the pair will rejoin the limited-overs squad for Wednesday's first ODI at the MCG.