Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series 1st final, Brisbane March 4, 2012

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


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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  • Roo 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...

  • Andrew 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!

  • Nick 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.

  • Andrew 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.

  • Hector 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.

  • Roo 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...

  • Roo 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...

  • maihan on March 5, 2012, 3:49 GMT

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

  • crik 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..

  • Nadeem 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.

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