Australia v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy, Group A, The Oval June 16, 2013

Australia focused, Clarke remains hopeful

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Michael Clarke has admitted the off-field drama surrounding the Australia team has affected preparation for his side's must-win group match against Sri Lanka, but said Australia remained focused on achieving their first win of the tournament, and progressing to the semi-finals. 


Australia must defeat Sri Lanka to earn a semi-finals place, and if England win their final group match against New Zealand, they must win well enough to outdo New Zealand's net run rate. They lost their opening match to England by 48 runs, and had the second match rained out.

"The feeling in the camp has obviously been a little bit different over the past few days because there's been a little bit of disappointment in one of our players," Clarke said. "But I can guarantee you we left it there - after I did the press conference a couple of days ago now - and now we're looking forward. Our focus has been preparation for this game against Sri Lanka and staying focused on what's important.

"The rain played a part in interrupting training yesterday, but a lot of the guys came and trained indoors. The day before, we trained really well as a team, and I know all the guys are looking forward to playing against Sri Lanka tomorrow."




Clarke was uncertain if he would be available to play on Monday, but expressed confidence in George Bailey, who led the side in the first two matches. Bailey hit a fifty in each of those games, and has been a consistent middle order presence since breaking into the ODI side, having maintained an average of 46 - which improves slightly when he is leading. Clarke was ruled out of the early part of the tournament due to a flare-up of a long-standing back injury.

"I think George [Bailey] has done a great job. I think his performances over the past four months have been outstanding for us in one‑day cricket. He continues to lead from the front, and I think he's captained the team really well in my absence and will do again tomorrow if I'm unavailable to play."

"My back is feeling ok. I'll have to train today with the boys and see how I pull up tomorrow. But I'm hopeful, there's no doubt about that."




Clarke also had praise for Adam Voges, who he hoped would help add leadership and stability to what has at times been a brittle batting order. Voges hit 71 in the last match against New Zealand and averages 51.50 in 19 ODIs.

"Vogey brings a lot of experience. He's a class player and has been in first‑class cricket for a long time. His one‑day record for Australia is outstanding. So I guess he's coming in trying to fill that Michael Hussey role batting at five and six for us, but also with the experience and leadership that he brings. He's a great guy, I love having him around and it's really nice to see him batting as well as he is at the moment."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cyril_Knight on June 17, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    No rain today.A full match will be played. I live ten minutes from The Oval and studied meteorology. Trust me!

    Sri Lanka are massive favourites for this one. I understand that it will be a newly cut pitch for today that will be used again in the Semi-final. It will probably be the central wicket too, so no short boundary. This will be dead flat but will take some spin. Aussie quicks will be cannon fodder! Spin to play a big role for SL.

    Expect 300+ if SL bat first.

  • Dhoom123 on June 17, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    Thanks to rain, the semifinal spots are still uncertain from Group A. Calculators are OUT!

  • regofpicton on June 17, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    As i understand it, when calculating the NRR each OVER is given equal weighting, not each match. So it is not possible to work out how much Australia needs to win by to eliminate NZ, untill we know how many overs will be bowled. If rain interferes it will get even harder for Australia to make up the deficit. As much as i hate to admit it, even at their present low ebb Autralia looks a more likely ODI team than NZ. But we cannot be sure that NZ would not have got up in their washed out game against Australia. We just about beat England from what looked like a hopeless position. The position against Austrlai wasn't great when the rain came, but it looked far from hopeless.

  • on June 17, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    @frankwood...if australia needs to increse their nrr by 1.6...than their diffrence in nrr should be 3.2 in this game considering thwy already have played one game..law of averages..make ur calculations now...though i wud like to see them win

  • on June 17, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    @nathan74 what a joke.u seem to be joking.u r saying " NZ must be hoping SL to lose by narrowest possible margin."and again you are saying" Though in theory there are three teams in the running for the final spot in the semis in reality there is only two teams- NZ and SL."you meant to say that AUSSIE STILL IN COMPETITION

  • on June 17, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    Australia will make it to the semis, then to the finals and then win the Champions Trophy yet again :)

  • soumyas on June 17, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    If Australia wins with little margin NZ will qualify, makes India's job easier to the finals.

  • on June 17, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    why no Cameron white? A huge huge hitter of the cricket ball and steve smith and david hussey as well are better players

  • bhagavath on June 17, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    @Frankwoods. Margin needs to be much higher than that. If Aus bats fist & score 300 runs, they have to restrict Srilanka to 174. On the other hand if Srilanka bats first & scores say 220 runs, Aus has to chase it down in 27 overs & 5 balls. Looks that too difficult considering the current form.

  • Broken_F-ing_Arm on June 17, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    maybe my maths is wrong but as i see it australia needs +1.6 nrr from this game. say if SL bat 1st and get 230 (rr of 4.6) Australia would need to chase that down with a RR of at least 6.2, that would only be in 37 overs, that doesnt seem that hard to me.

    if we do it the other way, Australia score 260 (RR of 5.2), they would need to restrict SL to RR of 3.6, meaning bowl out SL for 180, so batting 1st theyd have to win by around 80 runs not 126.

  • Cyril_Knight on June 17, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    No rain today.A full match will be played. I live ten minutes from The Oval and studied meteorology. Trust me!

    Sri Lanka are massive favourites for this one. I understand that it will be a newly cut pitch for today that will be used again in the Semi-final. It will probably be the central wicket too, so no short boundary. This will be dead flat but will take some spin. Aussie quicks will be cannon fodder! Spin to play a big role for SL.

    Expect 300+ if SL bat first.

  • Dhoom123 on June 17, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    Thanks to rain, the semifinal spots are still uncertain from Group A. Calculators are OUT!

  • regofpicton on June 17, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    As i understand it, when calculating the NRR each OVER is given equal weighting, not each match. So it is not possible to work out how much Australia needs to win by to eliminate NZ, untill we know how many overs will be bowled. If rain interferes it will get even harder for Australia to make up the deficit. As much as i hate to admit it, even at their present low ebb Autralia looks a more likely ODI team than NZ. But we cannot be sure that NZ would not have got up in their washed out game against Australia. We just about beat England from what looked like a hopeless position. The position against Austrlai wasn't great when the rain came, but it looked far from hopeless.

  • on June 17, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    @frankwood...if australia needs to increse their nrr by 1.6...than their diffrence in nrr should be 3.2 in this game considering thwy already have played one game..law of averages..make ur calculations now...though i wud like to see them win

  • on June 17, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    @nathan74 what a joke.u seem to be joking.u r saying " NZ must be hoping SL to lose by narrowest possible margin."and again you are saying" Though in theory there are three teams in the running for the final spot in the semis in reality there is only two teams- NZ and SL."you meant to say that AUSSIE STILL IN COMPETITION

  • on June 17, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    Australia will make it to the semis, then to the finals and then win the Champions Trophy yet again :)

  • soumyas on June 17, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    If Australia wins with little margin NZ will qualify, makes India's job easier to the finals.

  • on June 17, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    why no Cameron white? A huge huge hitter of the cricket ball and steve smith and david hussey as well are better players

  • bhagavath on June 17, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    @Frankwoods. Margin needs to be much higher than that. If Aus bats fist & score 300 runs, they have to restrict Srilanka to 174. On the other hand if Srilanka bats first & scores say 220 runs, Aus has to chase it down in 27 overs & 5 balls. Looks that too difficult considering the current form.

  • Broken_F-ing_Arm on June 17, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    maybe my maths is wrong but as i see it australia needs +1.6 nrr from this game. say if SL bat 1st and get 230 (rr of 4.6) Australia would need to chase that down with a RR of at least 6.2, that would only be in 37 overs, that doesnt seem that hard to me.

    if we do it the other way, Australia score 260 (RR of 5.2), they would need to restrict SL to RR of 3.6, meaning bowl out SL for 180, so batting 1st theyd have to win by around 80 runs not 126.

  • on June 17, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    I hope aus wins the match so that we do not hv another Ind v sl match. Bored of those matches.

  • on June 17, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    C'mon Clarkey You Can Nail It Bro.. There's Still Some Hope Left..

  • on June 17, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    My money is on the Aussies to win this match as SL almost always find a way to lose even when the match seems done and dusted in their favour. If D/ L comes into play as is very probable today history has proved time and again that it is disastrous to SL and if SL is forced to bat first or if they elect to bat first it'll be curtains for them as they can loose the match in the first 10 overs itself by collapsing in a heap as they tend to always do.

  • Supunsha on June 17, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    No more Ausis are a threat to the Lions. That era is well gone.

  • Jayzuz on June 17, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    @dev dada, you say Australia have only T20 batsmen. The reality is they have 5 batsmen with averages over 40. As a comparison, SL have none. @ Steve Beck Australia have not been "awful". They had one bad game so far, as have all the teams. They were well on their way to beating NZ before the rain came. If they beat SL their performances in this tournament will have been basically the same as all other teams in the group.

  • Sanj747 on June 17, 2013, 1:04 GMT

    Australia deserve not to make the semi finals.

  • Jayzuz on June 17, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    So net run rate determines position when there is an enormous difference between the playing conditions from ground to ground and some teams have basically played T20 games. That is simply beyond a joke. Australia's run rate will be overly influenced by batting second at Edgbaston, by far the most difficult ground to score on batting second. All teams scored at about 3 runs an over after the tenth over batting second there. NZ 2.6. But that won't count I assume because the game got washed out - with NZ needing to score 5.5 runs per over 35 overs, next to impossible at that venue. But the effective T20 game run rate at Cardiff will count! Of course if a game is reduced to 24 overs teams will score at much higher run rates! If administrators do not take these things into account the net run rate calculation is absurd.

  • Nathan74 on June 16, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    Aussies may win against Sri Lanka. Their chance of making the semis is almost impossible. My rough calculation tells me that they will have to beat Sri Lanka by double the margin. ie they will have to score double the Sri Lankans score or score in half the overs. For the current Aussie ream it is quite impossible. Though in theory there are three teams in the running for the final spot in the semis in reality there is only two teams- NZ and SL. SL to make the semis must win. So it is a must win match for SL. For Aussies win or lose they better get back to training for Ashes. NZ must be hoping SL to lose by narrowest possible margin.

  • Tlotoxl on June 16, 2013, 21:03 GMT

    Am I right in thinking that Aus would have to win by 126 runs to qualify?

    for instance Aus score 326 , SL score 200 then (547/100) - (469/100) = 0.78 or SL score 200, Aus chase it down in 26 overs (421/76) - (4.69/100) = 0.84

    either way one hell of a difficult proposition.

  • kc69 on June 16, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    Even though Sri Lanka has won the last ODI against England convincingly but there are still problems within SL team. The major concern is that its youngsters (Kusal Parera,Chadimal,Thirmanne and Eranga) have failed to perform. It mainly depends on Dilshan,Sanga and Mahela. On the other hand Aussie's can never be taken out of any game, Unpredictability still lies on weather. Hope to see a complete match and best of luck(on weather especially) to both teams from an Indian fan. Can't wait to see who will face India in semi's (NZ or SL) because I don't think Australia has any chance to qualify.

  • on June 16, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    Australia have been awful in this tour and tournament - no fault of George Bailey, who has attempted to make the most of a misfiring batting line-up. Their bowlers try their best - i.e. McKay, but just don't get repayed by their teammates. They have little chance of getting through to the semi finals even if they do win - their net run rate is too low to leapfrog New Zealand. Sri Lanka deserve to go through, given their splendid performance with the bat against us at the Oval.

  • Darshi007 on June 16, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Australia is as good as out. With a NRR of -0.960 they can't really go ahead of NZ's net run rate of +0.777 unless they absolutely trash Sri Lanka which doesn't seem likely.

  • on June 16, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    Aus has no one day batsmen they have only 20-20 batsmen so select oneday batsmen

  • on June 16, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    Its been bevan, lehman, martin and hussey who had dne grt job in middle order for Aus. Its too early to say Voges would fill thier shoes.

  • elgenioroshan on June 16, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    I really root for an Aus win but not by a big margin. That would mean the 2 best deserving teams of Group A go through i.e. England and NewZealand. But then NZ would have to play the in form India in semis and they have quite a good record in knockout games!

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  • elgenioroshan on June 16, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    I really root for an Aus win but not by a big margin. That would mean the 2 best deserving teams of Group A go through i.e. England and NewZealand. But then NZ would have to play the in form India in semis and they have quite a good record in knockout games!

  • on June 16, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    Its been bevan, lehman, martin and hussey who had dne grt job in middle order for Aus. Its too early to say Voges would fill thier shoes.

  • on June 16, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    Aus has no one day batsmen they have only 20-20 batsmen so select oneday batsmen

  • Darshi007 on June 16, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Australia is as good as out. With a NRR of -0.960 they can't really go ahead of NZ's net run rate of +0.777 unless they absolutely trash Sri Lanka which doesn't seem likely.

  • on June 16, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    Australia have been awful in this tour and tournament - no fault of George Bailey, who has attempted to make the most of a misfiring batting line-up. Their bowlers try their best - i.e. McKay, but just don't get repayed by their teammates. They have little chance of getting through to the semi finals even if they do win - their net run rate is too low to leapfrog New Zealand. Sri Lanka deserve to go through, given their splendid performance with the bat against us at the Oval.

  • kc69 on June 16, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    Even though Sri Lanka has won the last ODI against England convincingly but there are still problems within SL team. The major concern is that its youngsters (Kusal Parera,Chadimal,Thirmanne and Eranga) have failed to perform. It mainly depends on Dilshan,Sanga and Mahela. On the other hand Aussie's can never be taken out of any game, Unpredictability still lies on weather. Hope to see a complete match and best of luck(on weather especially) to both teams from an Indian fan. Can't wait to see who will face India in semi's (NZ or SL) because I don't think Australia has any chance to qualify.

  • Tlotoxl on June 16, 2013, 21:03 GMT

    Am I right in thinking that Aus would have to win by 126 runs to qualify?

    for instance Aus score 326 , SL score 200 then (547/100) - (469/100) = 0.78 or SL score 200, Aus chase it down in 26 overs (421/76) - (4.69/100) = 0.84

    either way one hell of a difficult proposition.

  • Nathan74 on June 16, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    Aussies may win against Sri Lanka. Their chance of making the semis is almost impossible. My rough calculation tells me that they will have to beat Sri Lanka by double the margin. ie they will have to score double the Sri Lankans score or score in half the overs. For the current Aussie ream it is quite impossible. Though in theory there are three teams in the running for the final spot in the semis in reality there is only two teams- NZ and SL. SL to make the semis must win. So it is a must win match for SL. For Aussies win or lose they better get back to training for Ashes. NZ must be hoping SL to lose by narrowest possible margin.

  • Jayzuz on June 17, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    So net run rate determines position when there is an enormous difference between the playing conditions from ground to ground and some teams have basically played T20 games. That is simply beyond a joke. Australia's run rate will be overly influenced by batting second at Edgbaston, by far the most difficult ground to score on batting second. All teams scored at about 3 runs an over after the tenth over batting second there. NZ 2.6. But that won't count I assume because the game got washed out - with NZ needing to score 5.5 runs per over 35 overs, next to impossible at that venue. But the effective T20 game run rate at Cardiff will count! Of course if a game is reduced to 24 overs teams will score at much higher run rates! If administrators do not take these things into account the net run rate calculation is absurd.

  • Sanj747 on June 17, 2013, 1:04 GMT

    Australia deserve not to make the semi finals.