Australia in England 2012 July 7, 2012

Lee, Watson injuries add to insult


Australia have called the left-armer Mitchell Starc, currently bowling well for Yorkshire in county cricket, into their squad for the final ODI of the series against England at Old Trafford on Tuesday, after injuries to Shane Watson and Brett Lee. Starc is due to join up with Australia after playing in Yorkshire's final FLt20 group match on Sunday.

Watson and Lee may be taking early leave from Australia's sobering tour of England after both suffered calf injuries in the tourists' eight-wicket loss at Durham. Watson could bowl only one over in England's innings before leaving the field, while Lee had bowled two balls of his second spell when he felt pain in his right leg and also headed to the treatment room, following an abortive attempt to bowl a third.

Watson and Lee are being assessed by Australia's physio Alex Kountouris and the team doctor John Orchard, with the results of MRI scans to be known as early as Sunday. Both are unlikely to take part in Manchester, leaving Lee stranded one wicket shy of Glenn McGrath's Australian ODI wicket-taking record. As he digested his first series defeat as Australia's Test or ODI captain, Michael Clarke confirmed the calf injuries, and that he had advised Lee to get his problem checked out before trying to bowl again.

"I haven't had time to speak to Alex yet, but I do know they've both got calf injuries - to what extent, I don't know," Clarke said. "I ran from slip to ask what it was about, and he said it was cramp. I just said at that stage 'go off, and find out if it is'. I haven't seen him since."

Though Australia had to cope with the most difficult of the conditions at Chester-le-Street having been sent in to bat after heavy overnight rain, Clarke would not offer any excuses for another comprehensive loss to England. The margins of defeat has only grown with each match in this series, reminding the tourists of how far they have to go to provide a serious challenge for the Ashes on English soil in 2013.

"I do believe England got the better of conditions, but it's easy to make excuses," Clarke said. "I think we had the better of conditions at Lord's as well, and England still found a way to beat us. That's what you have to do, against good opposition - in all different conditions around the world; you've got to find a way to have success. Unfortunately, once again today, we were outplayed.

"How far apart, are we? I don't know; you do everything you can to try to win every game, taking the field for Australia. Unfortunately, sometimes you lose; on this tour, we haven't seen the other side. But we've got one game to go, and I'd be very disappointed to go home without a win."

Australia's failure to make significant totals has been matched by their inability to make a dent in England's top order, an area Clarke noted with particular disappointment. As an aggressive captain searching for wickets, Clarke has not been short of ideas, but his bowlers have foundered on the rocks of Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott.

"I'd like to see more of their batting order, that's for sure. We can't get through the top three or four at the moment," Clarke said. "We haven't taken wickets - Clint McKay's been really our only wicket-taker. I don't care what form of the game it is, you've got to get blokes out.

"If you want to slow the scoring you take wickets - that's always been my attitude in any form of the game. "It's been very disappointing that we haven't been able to bowl England out. Credit to them - they've used the conditions better, bowled very consistent areas to build up pressure."

As for the question of whether or not the defeat had added to the scar tissue Australia carry from their past two Ashes losses, Clarke hoped there would be few ramifications in 12 months' time. But he will not know for sure until the likes of James Pattinson, Matthew Wade and David Warner face England again.

"We've got a lot of guys involved in our Test squad who aren't involved in the one-dayers. Yes, the result hasn't gone our way on this tour so far," Clarke said. "But it's been a great opportunity for the players who haven't played much cricket in England to get here and see the conditions - especially for our young bowlers.

"It's been good for our batters who haven't had the chance to play against a really good English attack to see how good they are. We know we've got some work to do, in one-day cricket but also Test cricket before the next Ashes."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on July 10, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    @5wombats on (July 10 2012, 05:47 AM GMT) Even one of the other 2 has actually slated his own team/selections. By the way was I right with my GT answer?

  • Martin on July 10, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    @landl47 - good analysis of Warner. Spot on. As a kid I had moving my feet literally kicked into me by dad standing behind me in the nets. Before the jokes start about someone needing to give the wombats a good kicking - I'd like to know this; how is it that an Australian - Australian mind you, doesn't know how to move his feet? What is that about!? Most of the good players in the Sydney western suburbs grades in the 90's used to move their feet a lot better than Warner, but it's Warner that is the international cricket player. Where's the coaching? What is going on!?

  • Andrew on July 10, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    @landl47 - (re: Warner), maybe slightly hastily made by me, (as he did hit 2 tons against well credentialled ODI opposition last summer), however, to me he has shown genuine improvement as a FC/Test cricketer at a significant rate. He is FC ave is still over 51, & he is still learning his craft. I heard a couple of interesting comments regarding his stance has been adjusted, not sure if that is good or bad. He is a lot better test batsmen than a lot of people give him credit for. I feel that ODIs can create bad habits for batsmen & have a preference for some players to specialize into a format. "...2 runs in 19 balls and he only lasted that long because he wasn't good enough to touch the balls zipping past his outside edge.." - the same thing happenned to Cook & Bell @ Lords, they survived & everyone is singing their praises, but it could easily have been a different story. He got a 100 against NZ on the greenest strip I have ever seen in my life. He has the ability.

  • Martin on July 10, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    @JG2704 on (July 09 2012, 08:44 AM GMT) - mate @Marcio is hard-core. Some of us are still waiting for him to give England credit for winning The Ashes in Australia last year. It'll never happen. He's never once taken our advice not to bet on games of cricket, and he's probably miffed at losing yet another shirt....:-)

  • Andrew on July 10, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    @Hammond - trying really hard aren't you! LOL! @rabbito - I like Neville but his List A stats are pretty ordinary. I think he is a roughie for a specialist batting position in the test side, just needs one more good season.

  • John on July 10, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    Interesting comment about Warner, Meety. My inclination would be exactly the opposite- I think Warner's an Eoin Morgan-type player who hits the ball beautifully but doesn't have the technique to play test cricket. Warner was completely bemused by Anderson and Finn in the last ODI; 2 runs in 19 balls and he only lasted that long because he wasn't good enough to touch the balls zipping past his outside edge. He has no foot movement against the seamers, follows the ball moving away from him with his hands and doesn't defend well against the lifting ball. In ODIs and T20s, with no close fielders, he'll get away with it often enough to be worth his place, but in tests the good sides will find him out (NZ and India in Australia aren't two of the good sides). It's early and he might develop, but like Morgan I don't see him as a test player. Hughes would be a much better bet and I expect him to have a good test career with proper handling, which he hasn't had up to now.

  • Lester on July 10, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    what about petter neville....rekon hes worth a go.

  • Andrew on July 10, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    @RightArmEverything - I've warmed to Bailey, I am happy enuff for him to be fro the time being the reserve batsmen, particularly if he finishes the series off with a decent score. As for the line up, assuming no injuries & winning was the ONLY motivation, my side for HOME ODIs 1. Wade, 2. Watson, 3. D Hussey (v/c), 4. Clarke (c), 5. Ferguson, 6. M Hussey, 7. Christian/Marsh/Smith, 8. MJ/Starc, 9. Lee/Cummins/Coulter-Nile, 10. McKay/Bollinger, 11. Holland/Doherty. Reserve batsmen Bailey & Burns. Where I had multiple players in a position, the first is one is the prime choice, the rest being contenders for that position. I would "retire" Warner from ODIs, (preferably from T20s too). I would change the side considerably for the Pakistan series. T20 W/Cup side. 1. Warner, 2. Watto, 3. Wade, 4. White (c), 5. DHussey (vc), 6. MHussey, 6. Christian, 7. MMarsh (fit?), 8. O'Keefe, 9. Starc, 10, McKay, 11. Doherty 12th SMarsh, 13th MJ, 14th AB Mac. Emphasis on spin options.

  • John on July 9, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    @kh1902 on (July 08 2012, 05:09 AM GMT) Australia won the ODI series and drew (coming from behind) the test series. Forget these results did we?

  • John on July 9, 2012, 19:48 GMT

    @RandyOZ: by 'supreme depth' I take it you mean the large number of Australian bowlers incapable of bowling England out? However, Starc is a very good prospect. I said before the tour started that I couldn't understand why Aus would pick 6 seamers plus Watson and Starc would not be among them. I'm sure he has benefitted from regular games in England and if he's chosen he'll probably bowl as well as any other Australian, with the possible exception of McKay. Of course, on this tour, that's not saying all that much.

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