England v Australia, NatWest Series, Lord's

Resourceful Clarke comes up short

Michael Clarke again demonstrated his captaincy skills but the more modest player pool at his disposal hampered Australia's efforts

Daniel Brettig at Lord's

June 29, 2012

Comments: 46 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke hit a half-century during Australia's run chase, England v Australia, 1st ODI, Lord's, June 29, 2012
Impressive with the bat and in the field - but Michael Clarke still ended up on the losing side © PA Photos

A winning record, it is often said, does not necessarily make a captain great. Ricky Ponting has won more Test matches than any other captain in the history of the game, yet opinions on his leadership of Australia are mixed. Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards were similarly considered fine players and strong leaders, but their tactical ability was often called into question because of how a rich supply of West Indies fast bowlers and batsmen meant they were seldom short of options. By contrast, Stephen Fleming is regarded as a great leader of New Zealand, for he extracted the very most he could from a modest talent base.

Michael Clarke has greater resources at his disposal than Fleming, but considerably less than Lloyd and Richards. Certainly he has less than Ponting enjoyed in the first half of his captaincy. As a result, Clarke will have numerous days as captain of Australia where his own contribution, be it in the field or with the bat, will not be enough to guide his team to victory. At Lord's in Australia's first encounter with England since 2010-11, Clarke experienced one of those days. He did most things right in the field, and performed ably with the bat, but walked off at dusk with a 0-1 deficit to his opposite number Alastair Cook.

Before the match Clarke had said the major improvement in his side since the last Ashes was in work ethic, their willingness to train hard for a common goal. Asked whether the team's skills had improved he was less sure. "With hard work and a lot of training you hope your skills improve," he said. "I guess we'll see, over the next couple of weeks, how we go when we're under pressure against a very good and confident one-day team."

It turned out at Lord's that Australia's skills and composure were not yet at the level required to better England. The visitors may be No. 1 in the ICC's ODI rankings but it was the hosts who showed greater presence of mind at the important moments, and better skills at the right times. Eoin Morgan's late-innings hitting took the target beyond Clarke's ideal, then piercing spells by James Anderson and Tim Bresnan destabilised the chase. They were helped by Clarke's involvement in a run-out just when it seemed he and Matthew Wade might threaten the target, one of only two miscalculations Clarke could be said to have made across the day.

Clarke's captaincy for the majority of England's innings was admirably alert and typically assertive. He favoured slips and catching men long after the balls lost their shine, posted three men in the arc between gully and point to restrict Jonathan Trott's pet cut shot, and worked his angles neatly to limit the number of boundaries that can flow quickly at Lord's if field placings are imprecise.

His choice of bowlers was also shrewd, calling on Pat Cummins after one rain break for instance, then calling on Xavier Doherty for the first over following the conclusion of the batting Powerplay - a gambit for which he was rewarded with Trott's wicket. As a batsman Clarke is known for capitalising on the drifting nature of an ODI's middle overs, pushing singles here and there. But as a fielding captain he does not allow himself to be lulled, constantly seeking wickets and challenging the batsmen to hit through or over his field settings.

"Steve Smith's place in the Australia team remains hazily developmental, the one blind spot in the 'role clarity' espoused by captain and coach"

It was only towards the end of the innings, as Morgan tilted the match with a series of brazen blows that reaped 48 runs from the final four overs, that Clarke briefly resembled a more ordinary one-day captain. The bowlers did not let Clarke down entirely, as loose deliveries were few and each man generally bowled to his field. But they did not find an extra gear to match that reached by Morgan, and left a batting line-up of middling quality with about 20 more runs to chase than they would have preferred on a day when cloud and cold aided the England attack. With time, that gear will be found more often, as bowlers like Cummins, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc develop, but it was absent here.

Australia's reply began soundly enough, David Warner showing typical spunk in his first international innings on English soil, and the No. 3 George Bailey aiding him in a useful partnership, though the Tasmania captain remains a somewhat optimistic choice at first wicket down. Clarke came to the crease with the task still in hand, and it would never slip away so long as he was there. However David Hussey and Steve Smith did not do enough to help him in the middle order, and were to be put in the shade by the combative Wade.

As captain, Clarke is responsible for Australia's batting order, and he appears to have erred by placing Smith ahead of Wade, who already has one match-winning Test innings to his credit. Smith's place in the Australia team remains hazily developmental, the one blind spot in the "role clarity" espoused by Clarke and the coach Mickey Arthur. He is a batsman and legspinner, but seldom bowls, and so far has not looked capable of holding his place with the bat alone. To play him at No. 6, ahead of Wade, was Clarke's second misstep, one that can be argued to have been made as much at the selection table as in the dressing room.

Brett Lee's bold rearguard came up short, leaving Clarke with a few areas to ponder ahead of Sunday's second match at The Oval. Where should Smith and Wade bat? How might his bowling attack be better balanced to cope with a late-innings acceleration? And what can be done to prevent Anderson and Bresnan, those familiar Ashes tormenters, from making the pivotal breaks? Clarke did little to detract from his growing reputation for agile captaincy at Lord's, but to win this series his team will need to be better.

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

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Posted by hyclass on (July 1, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

@whatawicket..Thanks for the heads up on Hughes.I'd be interested in your thoughts on any of his other innings.He has 533 runs,2 List A hundreds and 4 fifties with Worcester at 76 so far.Take a look at Hughes v SA 115 & Hughes v SA 160 on YouTube & describe if his current game matches the game shown there.I still remain unconvinced by any short run of form-both dismissals in his only 1st class game for Worcs were caught behind.Up to him joining the Aus squad for the Lions game in 09,he played his own technique with enormous success and none of the subsequent flaws evident.Everyone saw him roughed up,but his game plan and certain aspects of his technique were different.His areas of dismissal were far different.DeCosta made it clear that he was forced to prepare differently after joining the squad.Different grip,batswing,game plan,no trigger movement.My regard is see justice done and blame apportioned correctly.Hughes fate is in his own hands but the evidence indicates it wasn't in 09.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 1, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

@Rahul_78 on (July 01 2012, 05:29 AM GMT) Mckay was the most economical bowler on both sides - unless you include Bopara with his 1 over

Posted by Meety on (July 1, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

@5wombats - I thought the Eng openers had difficult conditions to bat in, but the greasy nature of the run up, ball & outfield, means that it wasn't easy to bowl in either. @Hyclass - would like to know your opinion on why Hughes has joined Sth Ozzy (indirectly under Nielsen again)????

Posted by Rahul_78 on (July 1, 2012, 5:29 GMT)

It is not only OZ batting lineup but I couldn't fathom how Clint Mckay was picked ahead someone like Hilfi in English conditions? Clarke also has an option in Pattinson to go to. Not entirely convinced of playing Smith in the XI and not giving him a bowl either. MC could easily squeeze in 8-9 overs between him Smith and David hussey which would allow him on seamer friendly pitches to drop Doherty and play an extra fast bowler.

Posted by katandthat3 on (July 1, 2012, 1:48 GMT)

Can also add Callam Ferguson to that Aussie ODI list too. Cosgrove was mentioned but he needs to get fit and stop looking like a giant beachball. There are heaps of cricketers that have talent out there and even if you give it your best it still mightn't mean you regularly succeed at the highest level but to have the talent and be just plain lazy and not even give yourself a chance like Cosgrove has done so far in his career is far more disappointing. A lot of the players in these discussions have been dropped at various times and go away and work very hard (most get back), I'd like to see Cosgrove lose 25kgs this off-season and show that he's serious about his cricket, then we might see some of his potential realised.

Posted by katandthat3 on (July 1, 2012, 1:10 GMT)

Agree with Hyclass that they are better off leaving Hughes to do his thing and just keep churning out the runs in the UK domestic and then have a big season back at home for the Redbacks. I think considering form and fitness of other contenders for Australia I'd have a side for ODI's more like, Warner, S Marsh, Watson, Clarke, D Hussey, M Hussey, Wade, M Marsh, Johnson, O'Keefe & Lee, with Cummins, Voges White & Doherty to round out a squad. I still don't understand Smith's role (probably score 100 tonight) but if they wanted to take a punt on a youngster then I would have gone with Joe Burns, at least he's in the A squad. So we'll just have to sit with it for this series. England look impressive and match hardened but I expect the Aussies to make a better account of themselves this game (the margin was only 15 runs anyway). England have some impressive youngsters coming through too. Sam Billings is the top of my list with James Taylor. Plenty of good ones in all countries coming thru

Posted by 5wombats on (June 30, 2012, 20:47 GMT)

@JG2704 - don't sweat it!

Posted by JG2704 on (June 30, 2012, 19:02 GMT)

@CricHorizon - I agree with your post re Smith and Bailey. I like Smith alot but if he's not trusted to bowl or come in higher than number 6 it seems a luxury. I've not followed Aus cricket so not sure about Bailey but he didn't inspire me from what I saw in this match. Starc has looked good in shorter fmts for Yorks this year so I'd probably bring him in for Smith and someone like Rogers , Vogues or Hughes for Bailey - just because they all seem good in Eng conditions.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 30, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

@5wombats on (June 30 2012, 09:03 AM GMT) I feel really guilty for disagreeing with you on the Morgan thread now . Still I'm all for healthy debate and I have always said that by and large we get healthier discussions with Aus fans. My point is that the Aus personnel hasn't changed too much under Clarke but guys like Hilf and Siddle look to be rejuvenated under MCs captaincy

Posted by bigfrank on (June 30, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

Surely it was Australia that had the advantage of cloud and cold when bowling, particularly early in the England innings.Clarke's field placings fed rather than restricted Trott,whose role in ODIs is to occupy the crease and accumulate, which left England with wickets in hand so they could accelerate in the closing overs.His lack of imagination in using only 5 bowlers meant England knew who was going to bowl,and what they were going to bowl,in the crucial death overs of England's innings.Chasing wickets is all very well,but if you don't get them you leave yourself open to a late overs blitz.Clarke's captaincy was ordinary.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

as a OZ fan i am shocked at the team clarke chose to play with. after ponting's exit and Michael hussey's withdrawal it is clear that OZ's need to strengthen its batting, but there was a clear void in the batting line up. they were clearly a batsmen short. peter forrest should have played. Dont know why fergusson gets this treatment. what wrong did Cosgrove do.OZ's in the name of attitude seem to be ignoring some fine talents like callum, cosgrove and whole lot of youngsters and are paying a huge price.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (June 30, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

RandyOz admits that Hughes and Khawaja are 'Australia's best players'. I cannot stop laughing. Is that really the best Australia have got. Oh wait..Yes it is...

Posted by Ragav999 on (June 30, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

@hyclass: That was a very descriptive analysis of Hughes's career. Good work. I am afraid I don't follow Aus domestic cricket. So it was quite interesting to know the record and list of awards that Hughes received.

Posted by Hasheem on (June 30, 2012, 14:23 GMT)

Clarke is no doubt a fine leader,very much aware of the situation of the game.He got his bowling wrong,he must sack Lee for good and play Hillfehaus.Get the more stable Forrest in for the mediocre Bailey and Wade ahead off Smith. Mind you Aussie batting is not what it was before,there is a element of instabiity and tendency to collapse. Aussie chances are even worse if they bat first in England. My take its 4-1 to England.

Posted by whatawicket on (June 30, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

hyclassi watched hughes a few weeks ago on sky were both solanki who scored a 100 and hughes 80 odd all the sky commentators were still taking the mick his 1st 10 runs it was the same old hughes , his stance was oh so bad. he played not bad but stll the captain at 13 years older looked the better batter, thats if you can look at any player and looks better in a T20 game. lets wait and see at the end of his county stint were abouts he is baring in mind they are last but 1 in the 2nd division of CC. if he were to be picked for the aussies in would have to be in the T20 or odis he still a no no for test

Posted by 5wombats on (June 30, 2012, 14:14 GMT)

@hyclass - hi bud. Re; Steve Smith. He was thrown into The Ashes too early in the opinion of just about everyone. Not being funny here now, but I was encouraged to see Smith included in this short odd little ODI series and I had sort of expected that his game must have moved on, and I was looking forward to seeing his bowling. As a batsman he is, sorry to say, a graceless slogger, but his bowling had at least the potential to become something. It was a surprise to see that his batting hadn't developed and it was a shock when he didn't bowl! What the .... is going on with this guy? What have CA spotted in him? and if he isn't going to bowl then he is going to have to work but hard on his batting. Langer must be pulling his hair out over the batting; there must be better batsmen in Aus than Smith!!! FYI Hughes is getting a lot of positive press here, but TBH he may be fatally wounded now. We've talked about Hughes before and I know you feel very strongly about him. Keep posting mate!

Posted by hyclass on (June 30, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

@jeauxx...many of us are wondering about the inclusions of Forrest and Smith. Voges has a far superior record in ODI with a fabulous S/R and is in England. Smiths batting has fallen far,his average plummeting from a high of 56 to its current 41 and he now looks out of depth at this level. He needs at least a good season of batting at Shield level before he can be re-considered. Its unfair of CA.The selection of Forrest in his least appropriate format is unprofessional. His scoring rate is glacial,both at domestic level & for Australia.It makes him look bad when he may have something to contribute elsewhere.I'm a fan of Hughes & rate him a future champion but would like to see him garner some excellent longer format results for Worcester before forming any view on his remodelled game.While he has scored a number of 100s in the last 3 years,he hasnt passed 150 as he regularly did pre '09 Ashes.Khawaja hasnt passed 36 in his last 12 innings & may struggle to be picked for his new state.

Posted by hyclass on (June 30, 2012, 13:13 GMT)

@TheHoneyMaster...the so-called 'back away' that you're describing,his equivalent of Ponting's forward press,returned Hughes the following accolades: Youngest player to score a 100 in a Shield Final,Shield Player of the Year,Steve Waugh Medallist,Bradman Medallist,Youngest player to score 100 in each innings of a Test v an 1100 Test wicket SA attack,2 other age related records in Wisden,a then average of 69 in Tests & 62 in first class cricket.In the 10 1st class matches before the Eng Lions game '09,he scored 1637 runs at 96 with 8 x 100s on 3 continents including a 3 match stint with Middlesex that netted almost 600 runs.It was only after he stopped his trigger movement to leg,changed his grip,bat swing,game plan & attempted to become text-book,that his game dissolved.Who was behind that will most probably be the subject of a post career book by Hughes.At this point he has 533 runs at 76 for Worcs in 4 x 20/20,4 x List A and 1 1st class match.I believe his old game was far superior.

Posted by SDHM on (June 30, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

Although I feel he's probably having a laugh, RandyOz may just be right about Phil Hughes you know. Having seen him on Sky when Worcester have played, I can say that much like Eoin Morgan he's completely re-modelled his technique; gone is that back-away to the leg side and he looks more solid at the crease, whilst still being able to give the ball a fearsome thump through the off side.He's been scoring bagfuls of runs too. It might sound harsh to say, considering I'm ignoring the 56 runs he did score, but the way Warner both played Swann and got out to Anderson really doesn't bode well for a Test series in England, so maybe getting Hughes back into the squad isn't such a bad idea, and that's a sentence I never thought I'd say!

Posted by Zippydidodah on (June 30, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

George Bailey fumbled the ball and ended up chasing it to the boundary on his hands and knees. When Steve Finn messed up, he was able to chase back and save the boundary. A few runs either way from fielding have a big knock-on effect when they add pressure and force batsmen to take extra risks.

Posted by jeauxx on (June 30, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

Oh and another thing - to the guy who says Forrest should bat 3 because he scores at a decent rate? I agree he has a good technique but at a strike rate of 68, Peter Forrest is *by far* the slowest scoring batsman in the Australian squad.

Posted by ozwriter on (June 30, 2012, 9:11 GMT)

RandyOz, khawaja for sure; he should make his way into the team based in Queensland. He has great talent and technique. Hughes? not so sure, talent but no technique there. think he will struggle at this level.

Posted by 5wombats on (June 30, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

@JG2704 on (June 30 2012, 08:20 AM GMT) - hi mate! Agree about Clarke - he is the only thing holding this Aus side together. This is most definitely a "development squad" that Aus have sent here to give them experience in England. England are the more skilful side in all 3 disciplines and should win this series, but given Australias fighting spirit, it's way too soon to say. Get a different class of conversation when Aus play England. Really nice to be talking about cricket again instead of having to bat back comms from a certain country.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

Should've given few overs to David Hussey. His off-spin is too underrated and he always goes through his overs quickly, not letting batsman to settle down and choose his shots properly

Posted by JG2704 on (June 30, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

Some strange comms re Clarke. Surely Clarke with his captaincy and batting skills is a big part of the reason why Australia have been going so well since the the last Ashes defeat

Posted by Plz_Dont_Get_Whitewashed on (June 30, 2012, 7:48 GMT)

@ RandyOZ - Khawaja and Hughes your Best Players !!!!!!..... Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahah.... :P

Posted by ozwriter on (June 30, 2012, 6:56 GMT)

agile captaincy? surely you meant 'guile' captaincy or something similar. good effort re pursuit of writing something worthy of reading Brett. the title is misleading though. you can hardly say clarke was short of outstanding. the team was not good enough. and two weakest links at the moment are steve smith and george bailey. if steve smith doesn't get a bowl, he must be in team as a batsman, therefore he MUST come ahead of wade. bailey, it would be optimistic to have him even as the number 6 batsman.

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (June 30, 2012, 6:54 GMT)

Randy Oz: What a joke about Hughes and Khawaja?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 30, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

I read a comment from someone on one of the stories about this game saying that Clarke's field settings were poor. I couldn't disagree more. I was frustrated for much of the England innings that they didn't do more to try to dictate terms and make Clarke change his field. There were lots of quite good shots that went straight to the fielder and Bopara's dismissal probably wouldn't have happened against most other teams as they would be unlikely to have had a slip in at that time. I think Clarke's captaincy was generally good and pleasingly proactive. The batting power play was a gamble that people would have been applauding if it had come off but that just goes to show how fine the line between success and failure is. In the end it is one of several significant factors that meant that England were the better team on the day.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 30, 2012, 5:28 GMT)

@Ryan Skeen on (June 29 2012, 23:53 PM GMT), it's very convenient that you pick all the bowlers that weren't playing this game as Australia's best. As they say, you're always better when you're not playing. I've heard so many people criticise the selections of Hilfenhaus and Siddle it's not funny and especially Hilfenaus for limited-overs cricket and now here you are rating them both as better than Lee. As for Pattinson, he has roundly failed to impress in limited-overs cricket so far, much as Cummins did here. The only one of those bowlers I'll genuinely concede is Harris.

Posted by pat_one_back on (June 30, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

No excuse for being outplayed but a close enough match with Aus looking like a T20 training squad with Lee, Smith & Bailey in the 11. Get Wade up with Warner, Watson to 3 or bring in Forrest if Watto's bowling a full 10 (which he probably should in Eng). Clarke at 4 and we have a decent platform with Huss deep to close-out and Smith to... field sharply?

Posted by RandyOZ on (June 30, 2012, 2:43 GMT)

This result is hardly surprising when we do not select our best players. The fact that Hughes and Khawaja aren't in the team is farcical at best.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2012, 1:01 GMT)

Hey Ryan, ever heard of a guy called Kevin Pietersen who is not playing for England at the moment? Two of those four bowlers you mention who should be there, couldn't bat their way out of a paper bag. That's why they have picked 35 year old Brett Lee. Mike Hussey is a great player, but Australia need to select for the next world cup. Don't insult your countrymen by calling them Australia A - none of them are debutants.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2012, 0:39 GMT)

Well done England. Australia are vulnerable with Bailey and Smith in the side. Ponting and Hussey are missed. A good game, don't expect this to be a whitewash anymore. Talking up a team's prospects doesn't make you the best team in the world. Australia are realistically no.1 in ODIs. England have won seven in a row only if you exclude the washout in the 3rd ODI against WI.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2012, 23:53 GMT)

Australia is not playing anywhere near their best side, Hilfenhaus, Siddle, Harris and Pattinson are the four best quicks in the country and are not playing. Batting is where Australia is struggling, there is not really much that can come into the side, Mike Hussey is the only one that would bring something more then the current lineup (excluding smith who is an absolute spud). From what i have seen though Peter Forrest is a far more addept number 3 then Bailey, he has the teachnique to better handle a very good bowling attack and he scores at a decent rate. England may as well be playing Australia A with the squad Australia has sent over

Posted by MattyP1979 on (June 29, 2012, 23:37 GMT)

It gets worse for Aus. They are missing there best 2 players(Huss/Punter) who are 76 between them and there best bowler and impetus batsman is 35 (Lee). The new kids on the block are ok but have probably been thrown in the deep end too quickly. Things will get worse before they get better. They had ALL the luck in the world today and were still soundly beaten. As for their pre match comments they get more laughable every time you hear them.

Posted by rawr94 on (June 29, 2012, 22:59 GMT)

I reckon for the next game, mix things up a bit. Do what he did in the West Indies, such as give his part timers a bowl, send Lee up the order etc. Different things like that might disrupt England's thinking and could reap rewards. On the flipside, it could go horribly wrong, but isn't taking a risk an Australian thing to do?

Posted by katandthat3 on (June 29, 2012, 22:26 GMT)

A great game today with many twists and turns (people who think the 50 over game is dead, are kidding themselves). Australia got the better conditions but were outplayed by a match hardened side. Excellent innings by Morgan, love watching him play. While Trott bores the hell out of me, he's very effective. The only weakness I see with England is Bopara. Great to see Cummins get through the game after a long lay-off and a few warm up games, will get better and better. Agree with most, not sure what Steve Smith is doing there, there are about 6 other blokes I'd have ahead of him as a specialist bat (I'm still scarred from him batting 6 in the Ashes), it's more a fill in role while Huss is away but maybe they are better with Forrest. It's a great experience for the squad that's over there but I have even more interest in how the Aussie A tour of the UK is going to go. Bring on game 2.

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (June 29, 2012, 22:19 GMT)

I still don't quite get Smith. They don't bowl him and I can't believe his is the top 6 Australian batsmen. He's played 30 odd ODIs so it is surely time he started delivering something.

Posted by landl47 on (June 29, 2012, 22:09 GMT)

Clarke's captaincy is one of the areas where Aus benefits. This really is, especially with Mike Hussey absent, a very modest batting line-up, so Clarke needs to lead from the front with the bat as well as keep the runs conceded to reasonable levels in the field. I don't know what else he could have done in the field; Morgan just teed off on his bowlers and he can't bowl for them. Clarke was lucky to be dropped on 16- had Bres taken that catch the match wouldn't have even been competitive- but as usual with class players, he took the luck and made something of it. Aus looks both a bowler and a batsman short; Watson went for 65 and as often happens when he bowls a lot, didn't make any runs. If Smith isn't going to bowl, it's hard to justify his place as a batsman. Watson was suggesting that Bresnan is a weak link in England's batting, but he's a bowler who bats and his batting average is almost identical to Smith's. The truth is, Aus has problems, but Clarke isn't one of them.

Posted by 5wombats on (June 29, 2012, 21:23 GMT)

England had by far the worst of the conditions today. Considering that England lost the toss and were put in to bat in that grey murk - and still went on to win the game - that was a good effort. A lot of people on the forums have been talking about good Aus bowling - but how good were those conditions for bowling? And how was it that Australia only took 4 wickets in the main part of Englands Innings? Maybe these Aus bowlers are not all they are cracked up to be. Even so - Aus got close, and it was a really good game. It's only one match and it's too early to say. Good bowlers learn - so lets see if the Aus bowlers learn. Clarkes captaincy was interesting and apart from the final 5 over thrash - he managed his bowlers quite well.

Posted by mikey76 on (June 29, 2012, 20:54 GMT)

Australia definitely a batsman short, they really miss the other Hussey. Smith is nothing special and I would be surprised if he is still in the side come the end of the series. They could probably do with picking a more attacking spinner too. Doherty was just milked with ease.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2012, 20:46 GMT)

Why does no-one ever pick up on the fact that Clarke himself always fails when the team needs him to go on with things the most? He always drops his bundle at crucial game points; he is essentially in my opinion a match-loser but bizarrely this seems to escape journalists. He panics when it gets to crunch time, and he has done this so many times it confuses me as to why it isn't picked up on.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 29, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

A lot has been said about Clarke's captaincy and he has done some good things but aggressive captaincy generally requires a gamble. Declaring while still behind in WI was a gamble that paid off because his bowlers didn't let him down. Taking the batting power play early today was a gamble that fell flat because his batsmen, himself in included, did let him down. I'm all for a team taking the batting power play before over 36 if they have two set batsmen going well. Australia didn't at that stage and I thought it was a mistake at the time and that position was borne out in the end. He's bound to have slip-ups along the way but I think Clarke died by the sword today where that power play is concerned.

Posted by Winsome on (June 29, 2012, 20:09 GMT)

It was an interesting match, I thought. Morgan did exactly the same thing in the last stand alone series between the Aussies and the English 2 years or so ago. He resurrected their innings for them beautifully. It has been made clear that Clarke is extremely reluctant to bowl Smith so it is baffling why he is in the team. This is a long-standing problem, and yes, Bailey is an odd choice for no 3, got a great ball today from Anderson though.

Posted by SDHM on (June 29, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

Disagree with you almost entirely with England's bowlers getting helpful conditions - it clouded over at one stage, but it was England who were left to bear the brunt of the worst of them. Cook and Bell needed a bit of luck to survive the opening 10 overs for sure, but I reckon if England were bowling then, they might have nicked out two or three.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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