Bangladesh v Australia, 3rd ODI, Mirpur April 13, 2011

I'm stoked with the result in the series - Clarke


Michael Clarke enjoyed plenty of firsts as Australia's full-time captain in Bangladesh. First tour, first century, first win, first series win and first world record (Shane Watson). In the third match he confronted a first of a different kind - the first time a match appeared, for a handful of overs at least, to be slipping away from him.

While it was never likely that a previously timid Bangladesh would be able to find the shots and the belief to sustain a chase of 362, there was an unmistakable sense around the 27th over that something was building. At that point the home side were a mere 21 runs behind Australia, with two more wickets in hand, and Clarke had brought himself on to bowl.

That alone demonstrated a trace of worry, and so it was valuable for Clarke to find a way of constricting the flow of runs, quietening the biggest and most vocal Mirpur crowd of the series, and ultimately closing in on victory with the capture of regular wickets. It was telling to note that at this time Clarke called freely on Ricky Ponting for advice, doing as he had said he would during times of on-field stress. Ponting was seen to direct a fielder or two, pointing and gesturing in that familiar way for the first time almost all week.

"I would've liked a couple more early wickets, it would've made life a lot easier, but credit to the Bangladesh top order, I thought they batted really well and took it to us," Clarke said. "We had to hang in there and fight hard to get over the line and get a couple of wickets through that middle period which brought momentum back our way."

The marriage of experience and youth, new leadership and old, was illustrated by the bowlers Clarke relied upon to swing the direction of the evening. Steve Smith's first four overs of legspin went for a slim 17 at just the time Bangladesh needed more than that, while the breakthrough wicket arrived via the fresh-faced source of the pace debutant James Pattinson. Imrul Kayes' thin edge behind the wicket was roundly and justly celebrated, but it deserved to be credited as much to Smith and Clarke as it did to the bowler.

"I think on wickets like that you have to bowl in partnerships, you have to work out who the batsman is you're trying to attack and which batsman, if someone's going well, you're trying to defend," he said. "It's about keeping the bloke who's going well off strike and I thought young James and Smithy did that really well.

"I thought Smithy bowled very well without too much luck to be honest, he changed his pace really well and probably could've had two or three wickets. So very exciting to see young Patto come in and do well, and I'm stoked with the result in the series."

Later in the innings, after the danger had been neutralised, Clarke added the most unwelcome of his firsts - a straightforward dropped catch. If he can be forgiven one grassed chance it is only out of grace for a beginner. Sri Lanka and South Africa will not be anywhere near as accommodating, as Clarke readily acknowledged.

"We've got to get ready for another big 12 months coming up," he said. "Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka for Tests and one-dayers, South Africa in South Africa, and New Zealand and India back in Australia, so we've got some tough cricket ahead of us. We know we have a lot of improvement left, both individually and as a team."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on April 15, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    @Lloyd Townsend/AidanFX - would that team be the side you take to Sri Lanka????

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2011, 20:03 GMT

    Great victory...dont forget that Bangali tagers in their own den are very strong side as they earlier demolished KIWIS.

  • Kinjan on April 14, 2011, 18:19 GMT

    I think the current Australian is lacking quality and this tournament they should know that they played againt Bangladesh. I think Netherland would have won against BAN team. So I don't think Clarke should be pumped up just because he was against a fairly weaker team. I can guarantee you that AUS team will lose against SL, SA, and IND. australia still dont have a reliable team and ponting should be removed from the team as he is a bad example of how to end career losing.

  • Aidan on April 14, 2011, 13:02 GMT

    @ Lloyd Townsend - I more or less agree with that squad - Hauritz needs to be in the mix (I don't care what Tony Grieg says, Krejza is not Australia's best spinner.) Kawaja in that squad, too good a talent. I totally agree with Paine. Haddin simply is not a good keeper. A talented batsman - yes but so is Paine and he is younger and importantly a great keeper. Was surprised many were saying Haddin should be captain. I believe Hughes needs to nodd. Selectors need to stop messing with his technique and be patient - and tell him to play his natural game. Quality Players with weaknesses learn how to play their game and minimise weaknesses impacting their game. I think his weaknesses have been exaggerated and magnified by coaching staff and selectors. He is too good a talent to ignore. I also agree Smith will emerge as a all round fantastic player and his worth sticking with. Clarke seems to know how to utilise him better than Ponting.

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    My test side for Australia now: 1. Watson 2. Hughes/Katich 3. Khawaja 4. Clarke 5. Ponting 6. Hussey 7. Paine 8. Smith 9. Johnson 10. Siddle 11. Harris

    Give Smith more time to mature as a cricketer, he will be excellent very, very soon. Hussey is still a star, but Clarke needs to bat ahead of him and Ponting to set an example for his team. Haddin's not as good as Paine as a keeper, plus Paine is much younger, and Khawaja's inclusion is obvious. Can't decide between the unreliable Hughes and good old Katich.

  • Aidan on April 14, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    Urgent message to Clarke - YOU ARE THE CAPTAIN NOW! Stop seeking advice from Ponting ... Let him enjoy batting with less duties, he already seems to enjoy it. I really believe Clarke has potential as captain - despite his doubters. Maybe I am wrong - but I feel as though he will do will to not consult Ponting for advice. By all means learn, and seek wisdom from different people - but it is time to develop his own individual captaincy - Australia will not progress if he doesn't.

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2011, 9:27 GMT

    It was very nice to see that the Australians came hard on the Bangladesh. For the first time, I watched such an agresive batting from the Australians. Very positive attitude by Clarke. If the continue this attitude, I bet, still, they are the hardest side to beat. At the same time, Bangladeshi side can work their best on their exposed weaknesses from the series to be competative to other opponents. The are also praise worthy as the way they put up a fight with their organized batting in the last game.

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    whatever AUS need a spinner who can strike

  • Andrew on April 14, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    @VivGilchrist - yeah I've thought about that too re: Punter & Huss. I think with Tests (being the pinnacle), & unsure about what to expect with the Test Championship, we need to select our best side & at the moment I think Hussey is in that side, (Tests). In ODIs - I am more brutal, & am looking towards 2015 WC on home soil. Katich is hard - on one hand I think he is past it, on the other hand I think he is worth perservering with, I split the difference & would take him on tour. Dropping Watto down the order is a good idea, I'd prefer to wait until there is a standout replacement though. I think Copeland is worth putting straight in the Test team though, he is a lion-heart, & has discipline. Anyways our starting sides aren't too dissimilar!

  • John on April 14, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    Personally I would drop M Huss from all forms except maybe T20 where he is still a consistent performer. Punter can and should continue in both forms IMO. - The gulf in class between him and Hussey is jaw-dropping. In my XIs I have NO PLACE for Haddi. I've never rated his keeping and he's just not responsible enough with the bat, and he's old. I'd like to see them send a very young side to SL, with Punter/Pup and Watto being the experienced faces to hold things together. Siddle deserves a spot as a quick, Harris if fit should play as well, then depending on the pitch, the other two bowling spots can be taken by Copeland/O'keefe/Hauritz/Starc.

  • No featured comments at the moment.