New South Wales v Victoria, Sheffield Shield, Sydney, 3rd day November 12, 2010

Clarke pulls up sore after century

ESPNcricinfo staff

Victoria 378 and 7 for 242 (McDonald 100*, Cameron 3-64) lead New South Wales 263 (Clarke 113, Holland 3-70) by 357 runs

Michael Clarke warmed up for the first Ashes Test with a century but the Sheffield Shield's form batsman, Andrew McDonald, compiled his second hundred of the match to drive Victoria into a strong position with a day to play. Clarke's 113 was the only bright spot in the New South Wales innings, but it wasn't all good news for him either, as he didn't field in the afternoon due to back stiffness.

Clarke said he was "not too concerned" by the problem that flared after the first day. "I pulled up a little bit stiff [again] today, so we thought obviously with what's coming up I'm better off just doing the right things and I had some treatment," he said after play. "I've got to see how it pulls up tomorrow morning, but hopefully I'll be right to get back out there."

The hosts' problems continued when the fast bowler Mitchell Starc was sidelined by a side-strain injury. Starc is expected to be out for at least four weeks, ending any slim hope he had of becoming an Ashes bolter following his strong ODI showing against Sri Lanka. He will now be unavailable for the Australia A match against England next week and his absence left the Blues a bowler down.

Without Starc, Stuart Clark made the unusual decision to hand Nathan Hauritz the new ball, which was a brave move given Hauritz's struggles in the first innings. It proved an inspired choice, and the Australian selectors might thank Clark for his creativity after Hauritz bowled himself back into some sort of form by picking up two early wickets.

Hauritz had Michael Hill lbw for 8 and then took a ripping return catch when David Hussey (9) smashed the ball straight back towards the bowler. However, the Victorians recovered through Rob Quiney and McDonald, before Quiney was snapped up at slip by the substitute Peter Forrest off the bowling of Shane Watson for 49.

McDonald continued to pile up the runs and had support from Matthew Wade, who made 40 before he was one of three victims for Mark Cameron. McDonald stuck around until stumps and brought up century from the second-last ball with a single off Hauritz, to leave Victoria at 7 for 242, with an advantage of 357.

But New South Wales are not without a chance of chasing almost any target, given the quality of their batting line-up. Usman Khawaja is the only player in the top eight who has not played Test cricket, although he has toured with the Test squad during their series against Pakistan in England this year.

The strong batting group made it all the more surprising that they conceded a 115-run first-innings lead to Victoria. Clarke was the only man who made more than 30, and after some lower-order support from Steven Smith, who made 18, and Hauritz (27), the rest of the tail offered little resistance.

Clarke was the last man out, caught behind off Peter Siddle, who collected 2 for 55. The left-arm spinner Jon Holland, whose selection is a strong indication that the veteran Bryce McGain could be running of chances at state level, picked up 3 for 70.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2010, 2:34 GMT

    ahahahah, bloody Victorians.

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2010, 0:31 GMT

    Aussies are gone....The Poms will retain the Ashes...

  • Hector on November 13, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    Steven Andrews....Very good thoughtful conclusion. I think you are right....I hadn't thought of it this way. Pity our National selectors aren't as thoughtful as you. I don't get the retention of North....No one thinks he should be in the team.....except a couple of dopey dropkicks called 'selectors'!

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2010, 22:06 GMT

    I think someone has found the answer to australias problems. Is it a coincidence that after mcdonald was dropped johnson has bowled rubbish since. Let me explain. Johnson is an attacking bowler who bowls his best when he just runs in and bowls as fast as he can, forgets about line, forgets about swing, just bowling fast is the key for him, but he does go for some runs. Mcdonald v south africa bowled with a run rate of less then 2 per over which takes the pressure off johnson to run in an bowl fast and take wickets. At the moment all aussie bowlers go for more then 3.5 runs per over and hauritz and johnson over 4 which i think has added pressure to johnson. Maybe mcdonald needs to come back for north but the selectors wont as they will say for team balance we have shane watson to bowl the medium pace. Just a thought.

  • Liam on November 12, 2010, 21:11 GMT

    Michael Clarke has become a very boring player, and I imagine will be a very boring captain after all he is the understudy to the wooden captain Ponting. These back problems have been constant throughout his career, and I doubt it will improve with age. Let's hope the experience of Greg Chappell on the selection panel will improve forward looking selecton. Australia needs a 5 year plan for recovery, young players given a proper chance to build a winning unit not all this chopping and changing knee-jerk selection. Australia will get worse before it gets better.

  • Hector on November 12, 2010, 12:56 GMT

    Digger55 you are absolutely right! McDonald should never have been dropped from the Australian team. His bowling was a valuable asset and just when he was settling into his batting at test level they dropped him. Yet, time and time again we see no talents like 'hang the washing out' North who can't field and bowls piddly little lolly poppers getting chance after chance after chance after chance till they make some runs on an Indian feather bed so they will get more chance after chance after chance after chance........The Australian team just looks better with McDonald in it. And why the hell isn't he in the one day team? Look at his economy! He would be a much better option than spray gun Johnston who on some days struggles to hit the pitch! Oh, and by the way, this current shield match has highlighted a massive difference in keeping standards.....Wade: A grade..Haddin: C Grade....Common selectors, open your eyes.

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    The game shows why Smith shouldn't be near the test team at the moment. He's bowled thet most overs in the second innings but no wickets and going at over 3.5 an over. You'd expect your spinner if not getting wickets would hopefully be bowling tight. Smith has to learn that control. And his batting is not top 6 yet so he can't be considered there either. Just give him time, he'll come good, but not yet.

  • Matt on November 12, 2010, 12:07 GMT

    NSW once again getting outplayed by the Vics but when the Test team is picked, at least 5 New South Welshmen will be picked and no Victorians ... the mind boggles ...

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2010, 11:47 GMT

    What would of happened if Simon Katich was fit? Would Phillip Hughes, the man with the best record since Ponting have got dropped? Or Jacques who has over 35 first class tons? NSW have shot thenselves in the foot.. They pick 'big names" instead of players in form.. Ben Rohrer and Nic Maddison, along with Khawaja were the only three in form NSW batsman.. Now looks what happened.. SMASH 'EM VICS :)

  • Tim on November 12, 2010, 11:39 GMT

    yes if McDonald played for NSW he would have 40 tests by now. It is funny that the article says the top 8 batsmen except Kwaja have played test cricket as if that means they should be better than the Vics. They only played test cricket because they played for NSW. We all know that when you play for NSW you also get handed a Baggy Green. Why this Kwaja guy is even being considered for test cricket is beyond me. What has he done? If he was a Vic he would have to score more than 1000 runs in 5 consecutive seasons to be even fringe. It is an outrage, McDonald is a far far better cricketer than Shane Watson. Tim had enough of NSW players playing for Australia Tim cant believe Steve Waugh was captain of Australia ahead of Shane Warne When Vics do finally get a go like Hodge at age 30, he scores an unbeaten 210 and then gets dropped 2 tests later. Steve Waugh did nothing for his first 20 tests. Get rid of all NSW players.

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