Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Melbourne December 21, 2012

Clarke predicts more bowling for Wade


Michael Clarke has declared his intention to give Matthew Wade further opportunities to bowl in Test cricket after he delivered an over of medium-pace against Sri Lanka in Hobart. Even by Clarke's adventurous standards, his decision to introduce Wade into the attack as Australia searched for wickets on the final day was a surprise one, especially given that Wade had never before delivered a ball in first-class cricket.

However, Wade was sharper than many people expected, and clocked up to 132kph on the speed gun as he sent down a maiden over just before the tea break. Clarke had been impressed by the way Wade had bowled in the nets during training and although he did not take a wicket, nor did he disgrace himself, and in his column in News Ltd newspapers on Friday, Clarke indicated that he would not hesitate to use Wade again.

"He bowled with good pace. There are some opening bowlers around the world who struggle to reach the 132kph Matt generated," Clarke wrote. "We're going to see more of Matthew Wade bowling in Test cricket, that's for sure. The only thing we have to figure out now is who will take the gloves, Phil Hughes, who did it last Tuesday, or Dave Warner?

"Matt got me out a couple of times in the nets and got himself an over in Test cricket. It won't be his last. He loves his bowling. And it reinforces my belief since I've been captain that it doesn't matter how we get 20 wickets or who takes them to win the Test. If Matt gets some of those or Mike Hussey or Dave Warner then great. It's like making runs. The tail makes important runs for the team, so every now and then the batters are going to have to chip in to help the bowlers."

Australia's bowling stocks were especially thin during the second innings at Bellerive Oval, where Ben Hilfenhaus was unavailable due to a side injury and Clarke's hamstring problem meant his part-time spin was also out of the equation. That allowed Clarke to try something different and while it didn't work on this occasion, unusual and successful bowling changes have been a hallmark of his captaincy.

In 19 Tests under Clarke's leadership, Michael Hussey's gentle medium-pace has resulted in five wickets, compared to two wickets in the 58 Tests Hussey played before Clarke became captain. David Warner's legspin has also brought four victims during Clarke's tenure, and in the series against South Africa Clarke turned to Ricky Ponting and Rob Quiney for overs of medium-pace.

Wade said he was "spewing" that he hadn't picked up a wicket in his one and only over, and while he wasn't expecting to become a regular Test bowler, he would be happy to roll his arm over again if required. He said given his short stature he was only likely to be used on skiddy pitches where batsmen might be troubled by the ball staying low.

"I would like to," Wade said. "The wicket was very up-and-down and I'm not the most gifted in the height department, so I think [Clarke] was just hoping I would get one to run along the ground. We're off to India [next year], I'll keep practising in the nets and hopefully he throws me the ball."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nicholas on December 24, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    Was there not a series last year or so where Marcus North starred with the ball, but contributed little with the bat which is what he was originally chosen in the team for... 'Jack-of-all-trades, but master-of-none' is getting more common in cricket. I mean look at Broad for England... Ashwin for India... It's little unexpected knocks/wickets that can swing a test match sometimes. Again, so much nonesense about pace from the usual trolls, when it's movement and nagging accuracy that is more important and good captains like Clarke appreciate more.

  • Roo on December 24, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Seems schools out early for Christmas - love the kidies comments...

    Anyway wishing everyone a great festive season & better to come for all true sports fans in the new year...

  • j on December 24, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    @zenboomerang, Like I said, hilarious. Tell me about Anderson, is he doing these days, and what did he do to Australia in their own back yard last time? Please tell us all what you think of a guy that goes around doing that. Innings thrashing after thrashing isn't enough for you? Big grin.

  • Roo on December 24, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    Funny how the Poms brag about their fast bowlers - Anderson, Broad, Bresnan all fail to sustain the speed of an Oz wicketkeeper or even get anywhere near it - just shows how strong & talented the competition is to get to Test level in Oz... Maybe Wade & Watson can go over early & do some coaching clinics on how to bowl above medium pace :P ...

  • Amal on December 24, 2012, 1:46 GMT

    It won't be a surprise if a day comes that all eleven bowling is usual. Clarke will be called father of that one day.

  • j on December 23, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    Hilarious to think this is all some have got to cheer about. Wade proves himself the world's worst keeper, and just because he has a bowl it's the opportunity some fans need to forget just how terrible he is (jonesy2). England love watching circuses like this, it reminds them of just how big the gulf is that lies between England and Australia. Yet another Ashes thrashing beckons fro Australia next year. What will the excuse be this time?

  • Rich on December 23, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    I say this to all those bickering about the Ashes as this has gone too far: For the last five years or so England have been better than Australia. Fact. Just look at who they have now compared to us: the no.1 test opener, Anderson, Swann & best keep/batsman in Prior, not to mention a strong op order batting unit that we can't match. I wouldn't for a second pretend that Lyon is better than Swann or that Siddle is better than Anderson, because the truth is so starkly clear. It's difficult for Australia to overcome this right now, but they will rise again. Mark my words.

  • Philip on December 23, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    Wade played TAC football for Tassie, his father played for Hawthorn & holds a position in Tassie footy, his cousin plays for Melbourne and he was looked at by talent scouts - but I'm not sure that he turned down a definite pro career in the AFL. Many international cricketers have ability in another sport whether it be footy/rugby, hockey, golf or whatever. That said, though, the footy/cricket link is the most over-rated of all. One only has to, in Aus at least, look at the excruciating segment where, on Channel 9's 'The Cricket Show', Brett Lee bowls softly to footballers (from various codes). Sure, they may have played cricket, but at a totally different level to facing full-on pace. Nowdays, teens can't be in the TAC footy system and practice/play cricket sufficiently too. No matter how talented they are, they need to work more at batting/keeping than they're given time for. Anyway, as I write Tim Ludeman, who Wade's move to Vic squeezed out, has made 50 in a 100 run opening stand.

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    I think Wade should first worry about his keeping which has missed several vital chances rather than thinking bizarrely about his bowling.

  • Tim on December 22, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    @Rodstarc, Wade also turned down a career in the AFL to play cricket so he is clearly a very talented sportsman. Some people are just freaks

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