August 9, 2009

Ashes

Pup is becoming Australia's heartbeat

Jamie Alter

Michael Clarke was at his most sparkling and creative on the second day's play at Headingley, writes Peter Roebuck in the Sydney Morning Herald. Australia's position required consolidation and the vice-captain served with distinction with an important innings.

In the Sunday Times Simon Wilde writes that Clarke's chances of becoming captain have been enhanced by his gritty displays, especially at Headingley.

An obviously class act as a batsman, intelligent and without the skeletons in the cupboard that put paid to Shane Warne’s captaincy ambitions, he has merely had to sit at the right hand of the man at the helm and listen and learn. When the time comes, though, Clarke’s elevation to the captaincy may be seen as a departure as he lacks the spit-and-sawdust style of Ponting, Waugh and Border.

There is no mystery about Clarke, writes Stephen Fay in the Independent, but who is this Marcus North who has partnered Clarke in fifth-wicket stands of 149 in Cardiff, 185 at Edgbaston and 152 yesterday? In the space of a week this odd couple have been the principals in saving one Test and propelled Australia into a comfort zone from which they have become favourites to retain the Ashes.

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Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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