Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series 1st final, Brisbane

'Work to do with Powerplay, death bowling' - Clarke

Sidharth Monga at the Gabba

March 4, 2012

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Australia celebrate a tense victory, Australia v Sri Lanka, Brisbane, CB Series 1st final, March 4, 2012
Michael Clarke: "Hopefully not executing tonight now allows us to understand that as a team every single one of us needs to be better than that." © Getty Images
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Australia have finally broken their three-tournament long run of losing the first game of the three-match final series at home, but Michael Clarke wasn't exactly thrilled. Having posted 321, Australia had Sri Lanka at 6 for 144, but in the face of an onslaught from the Sri Lanka lower order the bowling disintegrated, bringing back memories of the heist pulled off by Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga two years ago. Clarke said that his side would have to prove itself better than tonight if it is to stay No. 1 in ODIs and, in the short term, win in Adelaide, where conditions will suit Sri Lanka more.

Clarke was pleased with the batting, especially with the way David Warner played through the innings, but the team's bowling remains a worry. "A lot of work to do with our Powerplay bowling and death bowling, as we have spoken about as a team," Clarke said. "Hasn't been good enough throughout the series, and unfortunately it continues to let us down."

Clarke was in no mood to make allowances, even for a wet ball. "You might make an exception, but I won't make an exception," he said. "We have got to be better than that. We are the No. 1 one-day team in the world. We have got to execute our skills better than that."

He admitted that the pressure has been getting to his bowlers whenever they have been run close in a chase. "I just think we are not executing our skills to be honest," Clarke said. "They practise all their different variations in the nets. But under pressure, at the moment, we are not executing. That's been the difference, I think, between us playing some great cricket throughout this series and playing [only] good enough cricket to win the games. The other area [of concern], like I said, was [the need for] somebody in the top four going on to make a hundred, and fortunately Davey did that for us this afternoon."

Clarke did give Nuwan Kulasekara credit, but made it clear that he wanted more from his bowlers. "Again it's [about] execution," Clarke said. "It's very hard when somebody is playing as well as he [Kulasekara] was, and is hitting the ball as cleanly. If you are just a bit off, you go for a boundary. Credit to him, he batted really well. But we have got to find a way to hit our areas better under pressure."

The tight schedule means Australia don't get much time to work on what has been missing. They travel to Adelaide and then, within 24 hours, they begin the second final. "We are not going to have much time to train," Clarke said. "The guys know it. Hopefully tonight will have helped us, hopefully not executing tonight now allows you [the players] to understand that as a team every single one of us needs to be better than that. Generally that's the biggest part of it: getting your mind to a place where you know you need to be on top of your game the whole way through the 100 overs, against a very good one-day team."

Edited by Nikita Bastian

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 7, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

@Busie1979... Yes, very tough on gelling a bowling unit with the current selection process... The no stability situation leads to hit & miss bowling with bowlers not getting enough time to get used the playing conditions & team-mates... Guess it has been a rebuilding year or 3 but consistency only comes from using an established team structure...

Posted by Meety on (March 7, 2012, 0:32 GMT)

@zenboomerang - "Clarke is a poor ODI captain" LOL! A 72% success rate in the format would suggest otherwise. Dave Hussey is a part time bowler - if he were to be over used, it would not take long for batsmen to calibrate against him & launch him. D Husseys bowling is a perfect little break in routine, hence short spells. Interestingly he took a wicket in his first over a spell THREE times. Unless of course you think D Hussey is the greatest spinner EVER, & that he SHOULD take 4 wickets per match, I think he was marshalled PERFECTLY by Clarke. Also - the fact of the matter was that SL was 6/160 odd needing 160 off 15 overs, at that point in time Clarke had marshalled his resources with precision. With quality resources still up his sleeve, a good bowling AND fielding performance should of routed SL for around 200. Two dropped catches proved costly, coupled with the fact that SLs tail performed brilliantly (perhaps Clarke should of stationed fielders in the standds?), made it close!

Posted by Busie1979 on (March 6, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

The selectors have changed the bowling line up in every game apart from the first 3 Australia has played. This I am sure is part of the problem. At the moment the guy who is not picked is the guy that draws the short straw. Not good enough in my opinion. If you bowl badly at the death you're dropped - isn't there enough pressure already when the game is on the line? Selectors need to show some conviction, decide who the best guys are, stick with them over 4-5 games and try to get some confidence back in the bowling unit.

Posted by Meety on (March 5, 2012, 23:50 GMT)

@Busie1979 - I agree re: McKay. I don't think he should be bowled much after the 40th over, but I think he is a difficult bowler for batsmen to get set against & he seems to do well when rotated in 2 or 3 over stints. @Smudgeon - yeah, Hilfy has done well in this series (overall), but if his 2nd coming is the real deal (like Siddle), they are Test match GOLD & I don't want his confidence rocked by going for 10 rpo & then changing things. @Okakaboka - I was having a dig just because I think you have been way over the top in regards Haddin. Wicket Keepers do drop catches from time to time & conditions the other night weren't easy.

Posted by Okakaboka on (March 5, 2012, 5:57 GMT)

@Meety...Yes, I too was a little disturbed by that drop catch. It was a sitter.....just when his work with the spinners was getting better. I don't think Darren Berry ever dropped a catch like that in his entire career....the stick by which we measure all keepers. Wade has to hit the stumps more....the number of times he creates a possible run out only to miss the stumps by millimetres. He could have made 3 last night.... Not counting that 'shocker' from Forrest!!! At least Wade usually does well with the bat. Our fears about Hilfenhaus in ODIs was ignited yesterday.

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 5, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

Clarke is a poor ODI captain... His use of his bowlers was deplorable again & his mixing up the batting order was a complete failure... Pup, Ponting & Watto have all poorly used David Hussey bowling abilities & not bring on Huss & Christian after 15 overs was just plain dumb... Seems Pup protects his mate Watto over Christian - biased captaining again... As was the bowling out of Doherty early again - should be a death bowler with Watto for the last 6 overs...

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 5, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

@Chris Sun... Re: Rhino - You forget to add that he has a bowling average @5.5 run/over in those 4 matches... Good figures in ODI's... Bowlers don't always have to get wkts to be useful as we can see in Doherty, Hussey when bowling... Bowling tight at 1 end makes bowling easier from the other & quite often leads to wkts falling... Though must admit Ryan looks down a bit on form/confidence - maybe trying too hard due to the plethora of bowlers atm... Re: Johnson - he is probably still the leading ODI fast bowler in Oz, even today... Expect him to return to the shorter formats... Re: Dougie - have to see how he recovers... Still lots of time for both bowlers...

Posted by MaihanQani on (March 5, 2012, 3:49 GMT)

where is bollinger and Johnson the Aussie team bowling attack is now not in good position

Posted by OutCast on (March 5, 2012, 2:53 GMT)

Aus inadvertently scheduled the last 2 finals in Adelaide- the flat pitch heaven... It will only help SL coz the flat pitch takes away the bowling talents of Aus and Aus bowlers will look as same as SL's NONAME bowlers... the finals should've been scheduled in Perth, so that the real team will get to display their talents... even Brisbane ground didn't live up to its name- ended up like offering Adelaide characteristics where Patt and Lee's bowling were almost noneffective... Hope Aus doesn't delay SL departure, so that SL can get home early, lick their wounds and start preparing for ANOTHER Indian mauling..

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (March 5, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

Too much talk even after wining , just keep quite and win the final and stay happy. Srilanka is not bangladesh that they will not fight and fight hard but when you have won the match then why to cry.

Australia needs to admit that they don't have Warne and Mcgrath now and if they are wining then don't criticize your bowling just move on. They are not legend bowlers and they will make blunders.

Posted by Busie1979 on (March 5, 2012, 2:16 GMT)

I can't understand why McKay has been dropped - 6 games, 10 wickets at 21. What is wrong with that? Was he punished for a poor couple of overs at the death against Sri Lanka earlier in the series? He's not the only one. Most of the games Australia has lost has been when he has not played. Also - it would have been nice to turn to Harris in a crisis like last night - I don't think it would have got so out of hand if he had been bowling - even if people say he should have been dropped after the first couple of bad performance over his entire career. People think too short-term when assessing bowlers - you don't have to go too far back to remember how well Rhino carried this attack at its lowest point. I think he's been punished for venting about being rested. Pattinson looks good but in a final you want to go for experience, not a young guy in his 4th game.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2012, 1:15 GMT)

Man of the Match should of been Watson, Without his accurate bowling and taking those wickets Australia would of lost, 9 overs 3/33. From now on Watson must Bowl the Batting Powerplay overs.

Posted by Marcio on (March 5, 2012, 0:42 GMT)

It was clear when Pattinson came on that the pitch was much slower than the usual Gabba track. It was flat by Gabba standards. I think nobody woke up to that simple reality, and the faster bowlers were easier to hit. Hilfy lost his line because it wasn't swinging at all, and he couldn't correct his normal action, pointing it at leg and swinging away. Pattinson was no surprise. I predicted he would have a hard time when selected. He is inexperienced, and quite frankly not one of our best ODI bowlers. Starc has been in much better form this year, esp. in domestic one dayers & short version games, so why was Pattinson bought in with nothing to go on except test form from two months ago? But overall, this is a very strong team on paper. But their have been too many changes, and they are inconsistent. If they finally put it together they will thrash SL.

Posted by Harry_Kool on (March 5, 2012, 0:34 GMT)

This is an aissue that needs to be addressed, However, that said, when you can still win games and there is plenty of scope for improvement, one can only look forward to the future, especially when you see the talent lining up on the sidelines. Put another way, I would rather be in our shoes that any of the other sides'!

Posted by smudgeon on (March 5, 2012, 0:12 GMT)

while i think the arguments here are flawed, i see the sense in dropping hilfenhaus from ODIs and leaving him as a test specialist (like Siddle). there are definitely better short-form bowlers than Hilf, and i'd hate to see his being in the ODI side detract from his test bowling. also, despite Johnson's dreadful test form, they are missing his bowling in ODIs (yes, he is an excellent short-form bowler). however, none of this should not take away from SL's excellent fight-back. they really seem to lift against Aus in Aus!

Posted by   on (March 4, 2012, 23:51 GMT)

I don't know why Siddle has been designated as being for tests only. He should have been brought into the ODI too

Posted by   on (March 4, 2012, 23:44 GMT)

What I don't understand with Clarke is that two days ago he had a bowler that took 5 wickets including a hattrick (well the third wicket was debatable) yet you don't look at him. Then the first time you bowl Christian is on the 39th over the last over of the batting powerplay. The commentators were saying he wasn't going to bowl because he was put up in the batting order above Clarke. Watson was above him and bowled also Hussey came in before Clarke and bowled. You cannot tell me that Clarke was putting them in before him because of his back he looked fine to me. He came out swinging. So why would you leave a bowler out until then. It was still a win and hats of to Sri Lanka for turning it around and making a great game of it. Would have been a lot different if Wade didn't drop that catch of the second over of Christians.

Posted by Meety on (March 4, 2012, 23:41 GMT)

An interesting little aside, I have been very keen on Wade making the Oz side for quite some time. Behind the stumps he has been very good, (better than Haddin anyways), but he did drop a sitter last night. I wonder whether this qualifies him (okkakaboka), as a 3rd grade keeper?? Hoping it was an anomoly.

Posted by Meety on (March 4, 2012, 23:38 GMT)

@Chris Sun - I agree with most of what you said. I don't think MJs limited over career is finished. I think he will be back in the short forms as soon as he is fit. I am pretty sure he'll get the nod for the T20 W/Cup later this year (assuming he has fully recovered from injury). @trumpoz - surely you are jesting regarding our death bowling - can't be too bad to win 3 W/Cups in that time frame????? == == == I'd prefer McKay over Hilfy in the Oz side. Just on last night, IMO, people need to have consideration for the conditions the bowlers were bowling in. There were times that play should of been stopped. All the more merit should go to Watto & Lee who did extremely well. BTW - full credit to SL for almost turning a lost cause (borderline massacre) into a victory. Ten years ago this would of been a 100 run win for Oz. The way in which sides just go for it all the way down their batting line up is quite amazing.

Posted by bobagorof on (March 4, 2012, 22:58 GMT)

I remember Australia having this problem around 10-15 years ago, and they tried all sorts of different combinations at the end. Ian Harvey was used to mix it up a lot, with effective slower balls and intelligent bowling. These days, the slower ball is used quite a bit by all bowlers - one might suggest too much. I keep hearing the commentators suggesting 'you can't bowl length', but this has resulted in the bowler either trying a yorker or a slower ball every delivery. There needs to be more variation, to keep the batsman guessing. Throw in the yorker or slower ball as a surprise. Or, don't bowl it at 145+ from both ends, where a mishit rockets away to the boundary.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2012, 22:19 GMT)

Harris has taken 3 wickets in four matches at an average of 57 and a strike rate of 62, the worst of all Australian fast bowlers in this tournament. Those are not matchwinning numbers thus John Inverarity dropped him and Starc leaving Lee, McKay, Hilfenhaus and Pattinson to battle it out.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2012, 22:06 GMT)

There are too many bowlers vying for only 3 fast bowling slots, plus they have 2 all-rounders in Watson and Christian. You've got Pattinson, Hilfenhaus, McKay, Lee, then Starc and Harris dropped, with Cummins still recovering from injury. Johnson's and Bollinger's career looks over.

Posted by trumpoz on (March 4, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

Death bowling..... well that has only been a problem with Australian cricket for the last 15 years.... what is wrong with just bowling yorkers just outside off stump. If you bowl a full toss at least it should be low. Easier to set fields to.

Posted by AvidCricFan on (March 4, 2012, 19:48 GMT)

Bring back Siddle. Aussie's need to persist with Pattinson and let him grow.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (March 4, 2012, 19:26 GMT)

And fantastic effort by lankans , of all the teams they have shown the most fight , but angelo mathews will be really missed , this kind of innings cannot be expected every time from tailenders..

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (March 4, 2012, 19:23 GMT)

Problem with death bowling for them is except for lee and watson they really don't have much experience there , and brett lee with his pace , there is always a danger of leaking runs if the batsman gets some bat on it.. few more such matches and they will come good..

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (March 4, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

Clint mckay has to play instead of hilfy , Australian bowlers almost made a mess of such a good total , Australians have all the skills, its their temperament that needs to improve , or may be its the inexperience showing..

Posted by gogoldengreens on (March 4, 2012, 18:58 GMT)

We were reminded why Ben Hilfenhaus was not selected in ODI for two years - why they drop Harris for him

Posted by gsting on (March 4, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

Aussies definetly have to imporve their game in Adelaide as SL are going to come hard at them.

Posted by zeus_kris on (March 4, 2012, 17:03 GMT)

Hilfy has not done anything against SL. He has only got better of India. AUS could do well to bring either McKay or Harris instead of Hilfy.

Posted by Sinhaya on (March 4, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

Ryan Harris should never have been dropped in the first place.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2012, 16:28 GMT)

Harris was also got a hiding in last occasion. Pat & Hilfy only bowled 9 and gave away 94 in combine. Maharoofs was sp slopy and gave away 10/15 runs, overall SL gave away 20/25. But Dilshan, Chandi and Lahiru stop atleast 10/15. All those numbers count in tight matches. Anyway they need Mathews badly in the next match.

Posted by Sinhaya on (March 4, 2012, 15:18 GMT)

Well Australia should remember that Hilfenhaus and Pattinson well against India, when their big names failed. Today, Hilfy and Pattinson got a hiding. Ryan Harris should have been persisted with as he is the best of all Aussie fast bowlers without a doubt.

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Tournament Results
Australia v Sri Lanka at Adelaide - Mar 8, 2012
Australia won by 16 runs
Australia v Sri Lanka at Adelaide - Mar 6, 2012
Sri Lanka won by 8 wickets (with 34 balls remaining)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Brisbane - Mar 4, 2012
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India v Sri Lanka at Hobart - Feb 28, 2012
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