Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series 2nd final, Adelaide March 6, 2012

Michael Clarke says rushed return cost him


Australia captain Michael Clarke has admitted that in rushing back to play after suffering an injury to his right hamstring - which he picked up against India in Adelaide - he opened himself up to the strained left hamstring that makes him a probable absentee from Thursday's third final against Sri Lanka.

In acknowledgement of the team's difficulties, the national selectors have called the West Indies tourists Nathan Lyon and George Bailey into the squad for the third final. Lyon will press Xavier Doherty for his spot after five expensive and wicket-less overs in Adelaide, while Bailey offers a dynamic middle-order option to potentially replace Clarke.

In the aftermath of an eight-wicket loss to the visitors that left the finals series locked at 1-1, Clarke said he had bypassed the advice of the team physio Alex Kountouris in order to play earlier than recommended, and in doing so favoured his left leg over his right. The extra loading was not appreciated, and he now has strains of varying seriousness on both sides.

A scan on Wednesday will determine the extent of Clarke's injury, but with a long-haul flight to the Caribbean mere days away, it appears unlikely the captain will play in the series decider on Thursday. "I've done something to my left hamstring, I don't know to what extent," Clarke said. "I have to have a scan tomorrow, but it's obviously not feeling good at the moment.

"We leave for West Indies in three days. I don't want to make a judgment until we have the scan, I think I'd be silly to do that. It's a tough one. I pushed really hard to try to get back for this finals series and tried my best not to give Alex much of an option to be honest.

"So I feel for him as much as my left leg at the moment, because I know he probably would've preferred me to take it easy, but I wanted to be part of this finals series. But after straining my right one I've probably favoured my left over the past couple of weeks or 10 days and I've done a bit of damage there, so we'll wait and see."

The damaged state of Clarke's hamstring rather mirrored the cricket played by his team in Adelaide, where the struggles hinted at in Brisbane's narrow victory were writ large across a heavy defeat. Clarke apportioned blame evenly across the team, suggesting that the batsmen had been too sluggish on an easy-paced surface, the bowlers lacked control, and the fielders were sloppy and ineffective in their efforts to stem the flow of runs.

"We were short with the bat, we didn't score enough runs on a very good batting wicket and knowing Sri Lanka had stacked their batting line-up and played an extra batter at No. 7 we didn't score enough runs," Clarke said. "No excuse for our performance in the field though, we let ourselves down in the field and our bowling was quite poor once again. We've got a couple of days to turn things around.

"I'm really happy with the squad we've got, we're in the finals of this series and we've played some really good cricket. The bowlers have done a good job throughout the series in patches like our batting group. It's certainly not the stock, we've got the right stock, we just have to execute our skills better."

Earlier in the series, Australia's batsmen had struggled to go on to make centuries, though scoring at a decent clip. However, in Adelaide, both Clarke and David Warner passed three figures, only for their scores to be eclipsed in impact if not volume by Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Clarke said that "maybe we need someone to make 150 all the time", but credited Sri Lanka's bowlers for their thrift.

"It was certainly no team plan to start off conservative, that's for sure," Clarke said. "I think the boys found it quite hard early on, they thought the wicket was quite slow so it was hard to get rhythm, momentum and play their shots I guess. But credit's got to go to the Sri Lankan bowlers.

"I think they bowled in pretty good areas, they changed their pace very well and then at the death they hit their yorkers pretty well to restrict us to 270-odd. We can learn a lot from the way they bowled tonight.

"We beat them in the last game in Queensland, but we have to be at our best to beat them. India and Sri Lanka are two very good one-day teams, and we have to play our best cricket to beat them, and we're not doing that at the moment."

Edited by Kanishkaa Balachandran

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on March 8, 2012, 0:10 GMT

    @i_m_cric - problem is matey, that India have hosted the World Cup THREE times. So it is India 1/3, England 0/4, Oz, Saffa, Pakistan & WIndies 0/1, SL 0/2. So it is not really much to crow about, however I understand that you would be looking to take some positives somewhere out of Indian cricket!!!!! @zenboomerang - quite a weak attack on Clarke, a 72% success rate would suggest to most clear minded people that he has a knowledge of cricket that is far better than you or I. LOL - that you think you know more about cricket than he does!! LOL! Go the Couch Potato!! LOL!

  • alok on March 7, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    nilankaraja-"Whats Indian fans doing here? I thought they are out of the tournament after ending up last in the points table?"

    Dont be so naive man, if Indian fans stop following cricket, then your cricket team will never get paid :D be grateful that Indian fans follow your matches.

  • Mihil on March 7, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    @i_m_ crick.. i'm a srilankan fan and i think that is a reasonably good arguement. But SL too won the world cup when it too was hosting the world cup, although not the crunch games. We had to beat india in india to achieve that feat. India is powerful than most of the teams at home. But in this world cup i heard indian patriotic songs played on the PA system when india was batting, i think it was an indian national anthem or something because it is so familiar to us because hindi films. I thought India was trying to get an psychological advantage at that moment. That was NOT great hosting!!! i don't think something like that was ever done during an international cricket match. I felt so unfair and thought it was ridiculous!! this was an international match for god sakes!! I thought indians took unfair advantage by that.

  • Tomislav on March 7, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    Clarke had a big hand in Pontings Axing. He pushed his mate Forrest into the Aussie team & rushed himself back from injury. Selfish & disrespectful. Obviously Katich didn't thump him hard enough (joking). Oh, that's right Clarke got Katich dumped before as well. Australia's team maybe needs to be renamed Clarke's Eleven.

  • ashish on March 7, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    For all those people who are just saying that INDIANS are just HOME CHAMPIONS, just tell me the name of single country either in CRICKET OR SOCCER who won the WORLD CUP on their own SOIL.. Answer is NO-ONE-EVER.It is not just a child play to win at ur HOME.@wjKALANA:- I know INDIA is not playing well from last 2 foregin tours.It doesn't mean that you will take our glory to be WORLD CHAMPIONS..

  • Dummy4 on March 7, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    its d shocking news for ausis in form captain struggling vth right hamstring now time 2 srilankans 2 claim d cb series and also d defeat at home

  • Basil on March 7, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    @golubhai, Last time Australia played an ODI series v India in India, they won .... and it was a 7 game series with some stars missing through injury. Your comments lack merit. Don't believe the hype.

  • Roo on March 7, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    Seems like another bad captaining job by Clarke in ODI's... Clarke didn't gee up Warner earlier when the RR was so obviously slow... Would have much preferred Warner getting out for 60 in even time & giving the thoroughbred batters in the 2 Husseys more time in the middle to increase the run rate... Oz will fail in the final if Warner, Wade, Watson, Forrest bat in that order - Mike Huss @3 & David Huss @5 would add attack to a faltering top batting order & turn over the strike... Our most aggressive strikers have to be at 1, 3, 5 to give the team attacking play & upset the bowlers L&L... Watson can't play spin so needs to bat down the order - no.4 or 6 plus he is still running out himself or teammates... Where is his mind?...

  • Roo on March 7, 2012, 8:18 GMT

    So Clarke figures he knows more about sports science than the physio's... No wonder Oz players keep breaking down when they don't follow advice from specialists... Another case of 'me' over 'team'... Time for Clarke to be pulled into line as he did the same last summer playing at the Gabba Test - was useless in the field & couldn't run...

  • Pramila on March 7, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    Clarke wish you to get well soon. You are a class act & Good Captain.

    And shame on you sanjay for your one sided TV commentary. You was telling sri lankan team celebrating like they won the world cup after the final qualifier. Yes they celebrate like that, becoures wining of each and every match is very important for the sri lankan team.

    Not like, careless flatrack bullies who won the world cup witch played all the matches in side India with full of ground support. This sri lankan team winning with Aussies in ausy conditions.

    And sanjay always talking about once in a blue moon story of India hit 321 in 37 overs. you can't hide total tour loss from one match my dear one sided commentator.

    Aussies - The world No.1 as per there consistency at any where in the world.

    Sri Lankans - cool, Always doing some thing new, difference, exiting and refreshing.

    Indians - All the playing 11 are superstars. Even the bench guys are superstars.

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