India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 5th day March 18, 2013

Clarke uncertain for Delhi Test

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Michael Clarke has never missed a Test match due to his ongoing back injury but faces an enormous challenge to prove his fitness over the next three days after struggling through the Mohali Test. Clarke has not given up hope of playing the fourth and final Test, which starts in Delhi on Friday, but when asked if he was confident of leading the side his uncertain facial expression and pause before answering betrayed a serious concern.

"My fingers are crossed I will be doing everything I can to give myself the best chance," Clarke said. "I guess I am always pretty positive, touch wood I haven't missed a Test match due to injury so far in my career and I wouldn't like this to be my first one. If I can't perform at my best, if I feel I am going to let the team down, I won't be taking the field."

Clarke was visibly hampered during his 52-minute innings on the final day in Mohali and batted at No.6 after being in too much pain to bat on the fourth afternoon. He had been on and off the field several times during India's innings on Sunday and left Brad Haddin in charge, but the vice-captain Shane Watson, who is rejoining the squad after flying home for the birth of his child, would be the likely leader in Delhi if Clarke is ruled out.

That would be a fascinating turn of events after Watson was one of four players left out of the Mohali Test due to their failure to complete a task set by the coach Mickey Arthur. Watson subsequently flew home for the birth of his first child but on the way said he thought the punishment was "very harsh" and that he would use his time at home to weigh up his cricket future.

"It's very positive that Watto is coming back," Clarke said. "I know all the boys are looking forward to having him back and no doubt if I am unavailable ... I haven't spoken to the selectors but I would imagine that Watto would be captain that's for sure."

Watson was in line for the captaincy for last year's Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka on another occasion when Clarke had an injury concern - on that occasion a hamstring problem - but Clarke was passed fit. Clarke's back complaint has affected him for his entire career, and he said although it was painful he and the team physio Alex Kountouris were well versed with how to manage the problem when it flares up.

"It's pretty sore," Clarke said. "Fortunately I have got a few days before the next Test and I will spend as much time with Alex as I can to get it right. It is the same problem I have had since I was 17 and I have been trying to manage it throughout my career and the next four days will be no different to normal when my back goes on me like this. It's about plenty of treatment, listening to the expert and doing everything I can to get it right for the next Test match."

Clarke was in the field for all of India's second innings on the final day in Mohali, where he tried to rally his men to defend the small target of 133, but India's batsmen reached the target with 15 balls to spare. The loss left Australia 3-0 down in a series for the first time in nearly 25 years and Clarke will be doing everything in his power to avoid becoming the first captain since Bill Lawry in South Africa in 1969-70 to lead Australia on the wrong end of a 4-0 whitewash.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • capros on March 21, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    India at home play exceptionally well as is evident so far in this series so all that is left for our boys is to knuckle down and show that as Australians our spirit will never be broken cmon Aussi cmon

  • on March 20, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    Just looking at the passion on this page is indicative of what the fans want and care about: Tests!!! We don't care about 7 ODI series and the plethora of 20-20 leagues. Only Test Cricket allows us to chew the fat. Can't wait for the 4th Test, loved SA v PAK, and of course the Ashes in 4 months!

  • on March 20, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    What a shambles! Before the start of the 3rd.Test Watson is dropped for disciplinary reasons, heads off in a fit of pique, not showing any leadership tendencies as Vice Captain, by not taking it on the chin and showing solidarity with Captain and Coach, and then a few days later is on the verge of CAPTAINING the team! What a joke! Can Aussie cricket sink any lower? And what's all this about leaving the door open for a return of Hussey just for the Ashes series, as a swansong? The current crop of cricketers playing for Australia seem lost and hopeless. Is it any wonder, when the planning for the tour showed plain ineptitude when the wicket keeper couldnt play in a Test, and there was no reserve keeper in the squad. So they send for a previous keeper who then finds himself acting as Captain when Clarke had to leave the field injured! With the appointed Vice Captain dropped for misbehaviour, AND NO OBVIOUS STAND IN, it was left to previously dropped Haddin to do the honours!

  • Paul_Rampley on March 20, 2013, 0:53 GMT

    As much as i want Clarke to play it can't be at the risk of him doing further injury. Khawaja would be a great replacment, he has warmed the bench for long enough, now its his time. Also Pattinson is a no brainer for Starc and I would also give Johnson a go given he like Khawaja hasn't played a game this series.

  • BG4cricket on March 19, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    Front Foot Lunge - you have to be kidding mate. Clarke is one of the preeminent batsmen in world cricket and our best player by miles - we have no hope if he doesn't play.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on March 19, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    Clarke has been a terrible man-manager this series and has headed one of the most disasterous tours in the history of Australian cricket. Missing him out from the team will be a good thing for Australia, it really couldn't get any worse.

  • Jakespin on March 19, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    Hope Clarke is fit for the Ashes - a great player who has been in terrific form since taking on the captaincy and real fans want to see the best team Australia can put out. Like the Ashes of 2006 it would be a hollow victory if a whitewash followed only thanks to understrength opposition.

  • Arrow011 on March 19, 2013, 15:41 GMT

    I will list out the coincidences.

    1. Aus won India 4-0 - This time it looks India will win 4-0 against Australia.

    2. Clarke was captain in all 4 tests in Australia, Dhoni missed last test due to injury / Ban. This time Dhoni captains all 4 tests & Clarke is injured for the last test.

    3. People in India questioned Ravinder Jadeja in tests before this series started, people in Australia questioned Steve Smith as a test player, both proved their detractors wrong & are fine players.

    4. Australia decimated India at home with Pace, India crushed Australia with spin.

    5. Clarke scored the highest individual score against India with a 300+ at home, now Dhoni returned the compliment with an even more devastating 224, all between the captains.

    You can add more coincidences as I have typed whatever I noticed.

  • Clyde on March 19, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    It would be remiss not to think of the physical signs that would go with a crisis like Homeworkgate. In an environment fraught with the input of all kinds of off-field players, it might be difficult to stand up. Arthur comes across as far too involved (just as Fletcher does, I must say). Not too much notice must be taken of coaches. Let's just see the talent and accept the fact if it is not the world's best. Thank goodness I played cricket in a time when it was about your obvious ability, not what, ponderously, you might be coached up to, which I believe at that time would have been called a 'pipe dream'. Like much of economics, much of coaching is smoke and mirrors, which does fool quite a number of pundits, at various levels, not to mention coaches themselves.

  • djain-uk on March 19, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    Kudos to Clarke, battling a degenerative back condition since age seventeen. Total respect! Hope that he's good for the last test, otherwise a really unfair contest. Also hope he's totally well for England-Aus series.

  • capros on March 21, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    India at home play exceptionally well as is evident so far in this series so all that is left for our boys is to knuckle down and show that as Australians our spirit will never be broken cmon Aussi cmon

  • on March 20, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    Just looking at the passion on this page is indicative of what the fans want and care about: Tests!!! We don't care about 7 ODI series and the plethora of 20-20 leagues. Only Test Cricket allows us to chew the fat. Can't wait for the 4th Test, loved SA v PAK, and of course the Ashes in 4 months!

  • on March 20, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    What a shambles! Before the start of the 3rd.Test Watson is dropped for disciplinary reasons, heads off in a fit of pique, not showing any leadership tendencies as Vice Captain, by not taking it on the chin and showing solidarity with Captain and Coach, and then a few days later is on the verge of CAPTAINING the team! What a joke! Can Aussie cricket sink any lower? And what's all this about leaving the door open for a return of Hussey just for the Ashes series, as a swansong? The current crop of cricketers playing for Australia seem lost and hopeless. Is it any wonder, when the planning for the tour showed plain ineptitude when the wicket keeper couldnt play in a Test, and there was no reserve keeper in the squad. So they send for a previous keeper who then finds himself acting as Captain when Clarke had to leave the field injured! With the appointed Vice Captain dropped for misbehaviour, AND NO OBVIOUS STAND IN, it was left to previously dropped Haddin to do the honours!

  • Paul_Rampley on March 20, 2013, 0:53 GMT

    As much as i want Clarke to play it can't be at the risk of him doing further injury. Khawaja would be a great replacment, he has warmed the bench for long enough, now its his time. Also Pattinson is a no brainer for Starc and I would also give Johnson a go given he like Khawaja hasn't played a game this series.

  • BG4cricket on March 19, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    Front Foot Lunge - you have to be kidding mate. Clarke is one of the preeminent batsmen in world cricket and our best player by miles - we have no hope if he doesn't play.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on March 19, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    Clarke has been a terrible man-manager this series and has headed one of the most disasterous tours in the history of Australian cricket. Missing him out from the team will be a good thing for Australia, it really couldn't get any worse.

  • Jakespin on March 19, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    Hope Clarke is fit for the Ashes - a great player who has been in terrific form since taking on the captaincy and real fans want to see the best team Australia can put out. Like the Ashes of 2006 it would be a hollow victory if a whitewash followed only thanks to understrength opposition.

  • Arrow011 on March 19, 2013, 15:41 GMT

    I will list out the coincidences.

    1. Aus won India 4-0 - This time it looks India will win 4-0 against Australia.

    2. Clarke was captain in all 4 tests in Australia, Dhoni missed last test due to injury / Ban. This time Dhoni captains all 4 tests & Clarke is injured for the last test.

    3. People in India questioned Ravinder Jadeja in tests before this series started, people in Australia questioned Steve Smith as a test player, both proved their detractors wrong & are fine players.

    4. Australia decimated India at home with Pace, India crushed Australia with spin.

    5. Clarke scored the highest individual score against India with a 300+ at home, now Dhoni returned the compliment with an even more devastating 224, all between the captains.

    You can add more coincidences as I have typed whatever I noticed.

  • Clyde on March 19, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    It would be remiss not to think of the physical signs that would go with a crisis like Homeworkgate. In an environment fraught with the input of all kinds of off-field players, it might be difficult to stand up. Arthur comes across as far too involved (just as Fletcher does, I must say). Not too much notice must be taken of coaches. Let's just see the talent and accept the fact if it is not the world's best. Thank goodness I played cricket in a time when it was about your obvious ability, not what, ponderously, you might be coached up to, which I believe at that time would have been called a 'pipe dream'. Like much of economics, much of coaching is smoke and mirrors, which does fool quite a number of pundits, at various levels, not to mention coaches themselves.

  • djain-uk on March 19, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    Kudos to Clarke, battling a degenerative back condition since age seventeen. Total respect! Hope that he's good for the last test, otherwise a really unfair contest. Also hope he's totally well for England-Aus series.

  • Mary_786 on March 19, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    I have no doubt that Clarke must rest if he is not 100%. Khawaja did very well for Derbyshire playing man of the match performances in the last 2 games which lead Derby to divison 1. He continued that good form in Shield and should get a run in the final match at Dehli It's getting depressing. We manage 400 in the first innings after a day's play is lost and still lose by a distance despite the efforts of the tail with bat and ball. You have to think that there is not a lot that anyone can do to avoid that 4-0 scoreline. You might as well write off the series and plan for the summer instead: if the side manages to avoid defeat, great, but it isn't going to happen unless someone plays a blinder and, one suspects, that India are still hurting and are not going to accept anything less than 4-0.

  • Jay32 on March 19, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    Australia paid the price for picking batsmen who failed time and again to convert a decent start into a century.This test match saw 4 Australian batsmen cross the 50 run mark and none got to a hundred. Test match batting is all about scoring big hundreds and that is exactly how good teams win test matches and series. No point in having Watson in the batting line up as he is never going to score a hundred in the future. Having said that, any cricket fan can contemplate how Watson might throw his wicket away after reaching a 50, a catch to the deep mid wicket fielder's throat. Australia must do away with Watson asap if they harbor any desire of reclaiming the ashes. Steven Smith looked all class in this match and should be given enough chances to cement a spot in the Australian line up as he is a much improved batsman now than he was a season ago. Hughes showed lot of grit and determination and deserves another chance. Joe Burns is another batsman who needs a look in.

  • hycIass on March 19, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    We are reaping what we sow , if I was to be allowed some licence here exactly the same sort of selection errors occur with junior rep sides. Taking nepotism out of the equation which I dont think follows through to the Australian team, essentially guys get picked on potential (take the Marsh Brothers or Steve Smith) without the weight of runs and wickets to back up the so-called potential. Steve Smith to his credit has improved his batting average but others still get picked despite not performing in the Shield. Khawaja should have played in the Sri Lankan series and was the best swap for Hussey yet for some reason is still waiting his turn, and the attitude stuff is not true because Lehman and Hohns confirmed that the kid has great attitude when playing for the Bulls. And have we heard of a guy called Chris, he has been making alot of runs in shield.

  • LovedFansofIndianCricket on March 19, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    Dhoni was absent in last test against Aussies in Down UNDER And Veru captained india. And it is same Clarke will miss final test. What a coincidence. Will hosts do whitewash as same thing happened in Down under?

  • Captain_Crick on March 19, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    'Clarke uncertain for Delhi Test' due to a back problem may be acceptable but 'Clarke certain for IPL' with the Ashes series to come would be questionable. This is where the CA has to step in and take care of Clarke's workload like IPL etc. Clarke is invaluable to the team as a batsman alone and should not stress his back before the Ashes.

  • on March 19, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    so my team would be as follows...1.Cowan 2. Warner 3. Hughes 4. Watson 5. Smith 6.Wade 7. Johnson 8. Pattinson 9. Siddle 10. Lyon 11. Doherty I would include 5 bowlers because in my thinking I would be happy to trade a 50 run partnership for a couple of cheap top order wickets though this would only work If Johnson doesnt spray them everywhere otherwise it would backfire. Still you have to try. I also think the complete absence of Clark for this one test might make the top six be more accountable whereas his inclusion might hamper the team werent he 100%.

  • on March 19, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    There were some encouraging signs of improvement in the last test. 1. A decent first innings total without a major contribution from clarke. 2. Siddle taking a bag of wickets. 3. The character shown by the bowling unit to pull India back after a devastating opening partnership. 4. Phil hughes getting a score in the toughest part of the test. All these improvements must be built upon in Delhi and when you think about it all that Australia need to do to bridge the gap is take 6 more wickets. This can be achieved simply by including their main strike bowler Pattinson, though an improved showing by our 2 spinners may be neccessary as well on a 'rank turner' changes should be as follows.1.Watson for Clark 2.Johnson for Henriques 3.Wade for Haddin. 4.Pattinson for Starc (in a dead rubber clarke should rest)

  • satishchandar on March 19, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    There is lots of pride at stake but still, is it worth for Clarke to play this game being semi fit? I dont think so. With IPL and Ashes to follow, i think Clarke can skip IPL this time inspite of the team portraying him as captain. IPL can wait. IF Clarke is going to play this game and aggravate his back further, it is not going to serve any purpose to the team. Most of all, Will him playing the game with dodged back assure him of a win? With the current team in current mindset, even that looks a distant dream. My personal opinion would be to rest Clarke and bring in Watson for him at the same slot of Clarke - no.5.. Back injury can be serious if aggravated again and again..

  • DanTas on March 19, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    No one doubts Michael Clarke's standing as one of the world's premier batsmen. However, he is becoming somewhat of a team liability on two fronts. Firstly he is either injured, recovering from injury or playing injured. His body does not seem to be holding up well to the rigours of Test cricket. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, as captain he no longer appears to be his own man. Way too much influence from Arthur. When things go awry, as with the four player suspension, they then have to present a united front. End result is that both Clarke and Arthur end up looking foolish. A real shame because Clarke's on-field captaincy is excellent. Grow a couple Michael, be your own man.

  • Flemo_Gilly on March 19, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    The loss of hussey and ponting does leave a very un experienced batting line up where the oldest batsman is 31.Hussey's retirement does make it hard but khawaja should go straight in its just that ca are literally playing with his life.How Khawaja has any confidence left is beyond me and he nees a crack in the last match .Ponting would be more likely to accept a recall than Huss, mainly because of the lack of success he had in england. And when does county cricket in England start? Surely it is in batsmen & bowlers interests to get some game time over there. I think a huge part of our problem is that the players in the test team do far too much training & not enough playing.Look at Siddle he gave up a couple of shield games to train I think that time would be better spent playing the game.

  • TheGladiator on March 19, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    For the Delhi Test, Australia should field this eleven and in this order:- Cowan,Watson,Warner,Smith,Haddin,Wade,Henriques,Johnson,Siddle,Doherty,Pattinson. Need a left-right combination at the top. An offspiner like Lyon is very easy for right handers, especially Indian batsmen. Doherty should bowl a containing line from over the wicket. If Indian batsmen are not able to dominate him, then they will surely try to manufacture shots and then in turn would lose their wickets. Also the Australian batsmen should learn from Cowan and show more patience and application. Also the top order of Australia would do well to emulate their lower order batsmen. I believe they can win the fourth test, because if you look at it carefully, India has lost almost 8 to 9 wickets for under 200 runs in the last 2 matches. But the momentum is with India right now. So it probably feels that the scoreline would be 4-0 unless the Aussies show their true grit and determination.

  • Tongariro on March 19, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    Pleeeeese anyone to captain the Austrlain team except Watson. Why have him in the team at all?

  • Klgn on March 19, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    Good News for Aus!! Clark gone and Watson in!! Clark is a baby!! Micky is Micky mouse!!! Real Test for India on its way...Aus will win as Watto as captain POWER!!! 1 watson = 11 indian players!!

  • dakshinap on March 19, 2013, 5:02 GMT

    Hoh! what a bad news to Mr. Jedeja. Mr. Clarke, you should play in Delhi Test, Because Jedeja is waiting for you.

  • Showbags88 on March 19, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    If they aren't going to play Khawaja in this next Test then they should send him home to let him play in the Shield Final. He has been sitting on his backside for months doing nothing and carrying drinks and not out in the middle playing. What's to bet they keep him around and don't play him as "punishment" for not doing his homework.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on March 19, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    Probably the last news Australians wanted to hear , If clarke is not playing the match will be over before the 4th day

  • on March 19, 2013, 4:14 GMT

    Of course the blue-collar yobs who have had a vendetta against Clarke from day dot will be welcoming this news. This India series was always going to be hard, and more so thanks to Hussey's retirement, but Clarke carried this team in the first test much the same way as he did through the summer after many collapses. Yet he will never earn the respect of many of the general public.

    The problem is this is a poor team. Our openers aren't going on with their starts, our star-allrounder for the past few years is struggling as a specialist batsman down the order, and the spinners have all failed to take wickets. The only strength is our pace department. For the final test, and providing Clarke is fit, I would go with: 1. Warner 2. Watson 3. Clarke 4. Cowan 5. Khawaja 6. Haddin 7. Smith 8. Wade (wk) 9. Johnson 10. Pattinson 11. Siddle

    I'd rather pick plenty of batsmen to TRY and get more runs on the board. Numbers 9, 10, 11 chief bowlers with #1, 2, 7 and 3 alternate options. Moises rested

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 19, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    Depending on the fitness of Clarke, this is my team: Warner, Cowan/Clarke, Watson, Smith, Khawaja, Wade/Haddin, Starc, Johnson, Pattinson, Doherty, Siddle. With the series lost, it is important to see how the younger players like Smith and Khawaja go, and also we need to see how Johnson will go in conditions that suit him well. With how well he has been batting, I think we can justify 5 specialist bowlers with Starc batting as a kind of all-rounder. Starc has batted better than Hughes this series so is a decent replacement.

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 19, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    With Clarke gone, my tip for the best XI is: Warner, Cowan, Watson, Smith, Khawaja, Wade/Haddin, Starc, Johnson, Pattinson, Doherty.

  • Sunil_Batra on March 18, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    @vxxtep is on the ball, Watson captaining will help us bind better, and get Pattinson and Khawaja in there as both deserve to come in, surely Khawaja has earned his chance now. Also I think the problem is that CA needs to restructure its contracting system. Contracts given to players are too high and CA create more problems this way. Sometimes a players salary have forced people to pick players out of form. Many sports find themselves in that predicament. A player is rated too highly, payed far too highly and then doesn't deliver what he is expected to do, but has to keep playing anyway otherwise its a waste of money.

  • ghost_of_len_hutton on March 18, 2013, 23:28 GMT

    Talking of spinners, Beertjie, does anyone have any idea why the leading spinner in the Shield averages this year, Steve O'Keefe, is constantly shunned by the selectors? He's the only spinner in the country with a first class bowling average under 30, he can bat, and field too. What's going on? Has he somehow offended the powers that be? Perhaps by leaving his blazer button undone? There is no logic or overall rationale to Australian selection.

  • Freak7820 on March 18, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    For the Delhi test..they should play: Cowan, Watson, Khawaja, Haddin, Warner, Smith, Henriques, Pattinson, Starc, Siddle, Doherty.

  • Batmanian on March 18, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    Can't see Australia batting for five sessions in its first innings anymore than I can see it taking twenty wickets. Therefore, very hard not to see 4-0. Watson to captain cannot possibly be on the cards... in fact, there is no obvious choice of captain. Haddin, Warner, Cowan have to come into the equation.

  • yogikanna on March 18, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    Has Clarke ever heard of a Chiropractor, Acupuncturist or Alexander technique instructor. Either one of them can fix his back problem easily. There is no reason to suffer with a back ache for so many years, when it can be easily taken care of through chiropractic, Acupuncture or Alexander technique; especially when you are as rich as an international sportsman. Medical doctors have no clue about this, they only know how to dispense pain killer or do surgery. Holistic medicine has cure for back ache. I have witness hundreds of people heal this way. Please spread this news to all sports people. Cheers!

  • Alexk400 on March 18, 2013, 20:53 GMT

    I hope australia remove captaincy from clarke and give to Watson. He is more level headed than clarke. Clarke emotional and his way or no way not working. Military school style captaincy not gona work. He ruffle many feathers and making enemies and making players uncomfortable. Players will never do well under pressure. You need a captain who makes playing fun and enjoyable. Leave it to their skill to do well or do not select them. Michael clarke is always bad captain for me the day he backstabbed Andrew symmonds because he did not listen to him.

  • kickassPakistan on March 18, 2013, 19:40 GMT

    life has a funny way of being karmic. Watson in captaincy would surely be a thorn for the coach and his management team. and by the way all congrats to India for putting such a stellar performance,pls make it 4 nil. Gambhir was not wrong after all when he asked the Australians to come to India and play on the spinning pitches.

  • Beertjie on March 18, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    Well if the Oz capt loses the toss, the match is as good as lost. Even if Clarke plays, he needs 150+ to give Oz a shot at 500 - can only dream of what might have been. Very few of these guys will tour in 4 years - maybe a couple of quicks and batsmen, but no spinners. But we CAN win if our young spinners, Agar and Zampa are given time to mature and are not rushed, provided some good batsmen emerge and are exposed to spinning tracks, like Clarke was exposed to.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on March 18, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    Echoes of Ponting missing the final Ashes test in 2011 so he wouldn't have to captain a devestated side. Clarke's been the only in form batsman for Australia for a long time. Without him Australia will be beyond help in the next test.

  • Doogius on March 18, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    Betcha he stil plays IPL after the tour. Can't wait to hear the justificiation, how his back is under control.

  • ram4crictheory on March 18, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    @land47, u r comment reminded me of the great Brian Lara who was almost in a same position of carrying the entire burden of the team on his own before his retirement.

    This is really a horrifying indication for Australia's bench strength. The Australian selectors/coaching staff need to address this as soon as possible and first develop the confidence in youngsters and then once they are settled, they will automatically learn to behave looking at all the legends traveling all over the world. I don't want/like this Australian side to go the West Indies way into slump, which will be a huge loss to cricket. I am really hoping to see the new Australian team playing hard and fearless cricket as their old team has done. Good luck.

  • ReverseSweepIndia on March 18, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    @Pras_Punter, instead I would suggest following changes which could make this Aus side more competitive in Delhi which sure is going to be another turner. Patto for Doherty, Maxwell for Henrique, Watto for Hughes (though he scored 70 odd but he looked like getting out anytime all the time). If Clark does not play bring Khwaja in. You will have 3 frontline pacers and 2 spinners. Biggest problem at the moment with Aus is you do not have any test style bat other than Clark. Cowan may be getting back in touch but he will take 300 balls to score a hundred. We do have problems our own. Vijay though his big hundreds in last two matches, don't think he will ever score on bouncy pitches. Too early to make a call on Dhawan or Pujara. Kohli will manage just fine. Tendulkar is not in longer picture. He is doing alright, just except not scoring hundreds, but 70-80s are just as good. Biggest concern is we do not from where our next fast bowler will come.

  • vxttemp on March 18, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    If Watto gets a chance to captain the team, I think it will help aussies to bind and regroup from the ruckus created by Management. Also expecting Pattison and Khawaja to play in the last test. Delhi is a tricky pitch. Batters struggle even in T20s at Delhi.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on March 18, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    Very sorry to hear about Clarke's injury. I hope and wish he has a speedy and complete recovery. Cricket is secondary. He has to get proper help and rest. All the best to Clarke.

  • AKS286 on March 18, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    I think its good that if he will not play. The senior axer- clarke divided the team. if clarke will not play the probability of winning is high. Warner, Cowan, Watson, haddin, hughes, moises, maxwell, starc, MJ, pattinson, Doherty. Or Lyon will be the captain in delhe test.

  • InnocentGuy on March 18, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    With all due respect, he wasn't anywhere near his best in the 3rd Test. He should probably just sit the last one out - no point in trying to play with an injured back. Watto cannot possibly do a worse job so let him lead. He must be mentally rejuvenated too, after seeing his baby.

  • landl47 on March 18, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    Clarke is probably the single most important player for his side in world cricket at the moment. He has carried an under-manned batting order on his back for the last two years and the only consistent support he has had was from Mike Hussey. This is the first series in which he has not had Huss's support and that's been a huge loss. Looking at the make-up of the side before the series, it just didn't look the right mix for India.

    Hopefully he'll be able to shake this problem off quickly. If it's just the same chronic problem he's had all along he knows what to do. The one thing he must avoid is making it worse. This series is lost and it would be foolish to risk his future trying to play when he isn't up to it.

  • Thefakebook on March 18, 2013, 15:16 GMT

    From the looks of this series I don't know who is certain and whose not anymore. Patto is back for sure will Lyon be dropped again?Usman over Phil??Starc misses out after two great display with bat as well as few wickets???Siddle is fixed right?Watson in for Henriques or Smith's 92 worth noting???So many uncertainties. :(

  • binu.emiliya on March 18, 2013, 15:16 GMT

    Delhi is goint to be spinning track and Jadeja is hoing to be handful in Firos shah kotla may be he is going to get his first five wickets and long wait of Rahane is going to end

  • Praxis on March 18, 2013, 15:12 GMT

    So, Watson to captain if Clarke sits this one out?

  • Sir.Ivor on March 18, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    I just wish Pup is fully fit and ready for the last game. I hope that Watson and Pattinson are ready for it because it promises to be a great game.The Australians seem to have recovered from the sordid episode of a few days back. Maybe this 'kick in the backside' was needed for them to realise that Arthur is a professional and he will not brook any disrespect.The Pattinsons of this world will realise that being good in one series does not guarantee them even a place in the side. There are others waiting on the bench to get their share of recognition. Australia may take a long time to be No 1 again. But there are many who could take them there if only the selectors recognise merit. Callum Fergusson James Faulkner and Shaun Marsh need to be in. I wish them good luck for the future.

  • PrasPunter on March 18, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    Not sure how many floggings we are going to take before we realize what everyone else already has but not us - we don't have a spinner who can take wickets no matter what, not even on rank-turners.

    So whats next for us ? Having already lost the series, Pup can do well by sitting out to make sure he doesnt flare-up his injury. Play 4 bowlers - all seamers - Siddle, Pattinson, Johnson and Starc. Atleast they wouldnt leak runs as Lyon did. Play Khawaja to see his measure.

    Warner, Cowan, Khawaja, Watson, Clarke / Hughes, Haddin, Wade, Siddle, Johnson, Starc and Pattinson is my XI for Delhi.

  • thebatsmansHoldingthebowlersWilley on March 18, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    Amazed he chose to play in the IPL in what is such a busy year for Australia. What state will he be in for the Ashes? If he misses any Ashes tests his decision to play in the IPL will come under scrutiny

  • on March 18, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    Delhi will present a Mickey Mouse situaion! All the FOUR supspnended players, lead by the suspended Watto & 7 others will be fighting it out for OZ. Intersting, indeed!

  • guptahitesh4u on March 18, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    So, the poor on-field performance has been surrounded by other problems for the Australians. The third test witnessed the "Homework" episode and now Clarke's injury can give them a final blow. He might not have scored in the third test but he seems to be the only player who can be relied upon at the moment. Apart from his batting, there doesn't seem any other candidate who can lead the side confidently. Watson?? I think he still need time to get matured and looking at his performance, I don't know how he can be a motivator for the team on the ground. Lets hope for a fighting finish in Delhi

  • AKS286 on March 18, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    Finally something is going in right way. Atleast Oz has a good chance to end the series with a win. Warner, Cowan, Watson (C), Hughes, Haddin, Smith, Maxwell, MJ, Starc, pattinson, Doherty. CA must take captaicy from the clarke.

  • handyandy on March 18, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    No point in him risking more damage plus it will give Watson a chance to show his wares as captain.

  • Edwards_Anderson on March 18, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    The win means that it is only the fourth time that India have won three Tests in a series and the first time they have done that against Australia. Dhawan, who did not bat in the second innings due to an injury, was the star of the match for me, and single-handedly took the game away from the Aussies when it looked like a draw seemed the only result possible. One would hope Khawaja may finally get a hit now given we have lost 3 matches but my guess is that like the Sri Lankan series and the first 3 tests he will be put on standby and then pulled out in the last second. Six losses in a row for Australia in Tests in India, which is a run we need to fast end. Delhi still holds alot of relevance for us, its far from being a dead rubber. Hopefully Watson can bowl in Dehli in which case he can come in as an allroudner.

  • on March 18, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Now that Australia have already lost the series, I feel it's better Clarke is rested. He has a tough season ahead of him, with 2 Ashes coming up. And given the recent changes in the Australian batting line up, with Ponting and Hussey retiring, it's essential Clarke is fully fit for the Ashes. Australia will really need his experience in the middle order, which otherwise is fairly inexperienced at the moment. Hope your back gets okay soon! always been a fan of your batting.

  • thelapal on March 18, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Clarke certainly doesn't want to enter in record books as a captain with 4-0 white wash in India, He is eager to handle this pressure to Watson and leave it to him for a 4-0 or 3-0 series lose because Australia winning in India now with this team and making 3-1 is highly impossible. Most likely 4-0 is on the cards because delhi test is not going to be a 4 day test match :) and India now have one more in form batsmen sekhar dhawan and their spin attack will be much more dangerous on delhi pitch.

  • Paul_Rampley on March 18, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Hope Clarke is fit and ready to go, but if not then Khawaja has been backup batsman for the last 5 months and would be a great replacment. But in saying that i do hope Clarke is fit for the test as you can't replace the best batsman in the world.

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  • Paul_Rampley on March 18, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Hope Clarke is fit and ready to go, but if not then Khawaja has been backup batsman for the last 5 months and would be a great replacment. But in saying that i do hope Clarke is fit for the test as you can't replace the best batsman in the world.

  • thelapal on March 18, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Clarke certainly doesn't want to enter in record books as a captain with 4-0 white wash in India, He is eager to handle this pressure to Watson and leave it to him for a 4-0 or 3-0 series lose because Australia winning in India now with this team and making 3-1 is highly impossible. Most likely 4-0 is on the cards because delhi test is not going to be a 4 day test match :) and India now have one more in form batsmen sekhar dhawan and their spin attack will be much more dangerous on delhi pitch.

  • on March 18, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Now that Australia have already lost the series, I feel it's better Clarke is rested. He has a tough season ahead of him, with 2 Ashes coming up. And given the recent changes in the Australian batting line up, with Ponting and Hussey retiring, it's essential Clarke is fully fit for the Ashes. Australia will really need his experience in the middle order, which otherwise is fairly inexperienced at the moment. Hope your back gets okay soon! always been a fan of your batting.

  • Edwards_Anderson on March 18, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    The win means that it is only the fourth time that India have won three Tests in a series and the first time they have done that against Australia. Dhawan, who did not bat in the second innings due to an injury, was the star of the match for me, and single-handedly took the game away from the Aussies when it looked like a draw seemed the only result possible. One would hope Khawaja may finally get a hit now given we have lost 3 matches but my guess is that like the Sri Lankan series and the first 3 tests he will be put on standby and then pulled out in the last second. Six losses in a row for Australia in Tests in India, which is a run we need to fast end. Delhi still holds alot of relevance for us, its far from being a dead rubber. Hopefully Watson can bowl in Dehli in which case he can come in as an allroudner.

  • handyandy on March 18, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    No point in him risking more damage plus it will give Watson a chance to show his wares as captain.

  • AKS286 on March 18, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    Finally something is going in right way. Atleast Oz has a good chance to end the series with a win. Warner, Cowan, Watson (C), Hughes, Haddin, Smith, Maxwell, MJ, Starc, pattinson, Doherty. CA must take captaicy from the clarke.

  • guptahitesh4u on March 18, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    So, the poor on-field performance has been surrounded by other problems for the Australians. The third test witnessed the "Homework" episode and now Clarke's injury can give them a final blow. He might not have scored in the third test but he seems to be the only player who can be relied upon at the moment. Apart from his batting, there doesn't seem any other candidate who can lead the side confidently. Watson?? I think he still need time to get matured and looking at his performance, I don't know how he can be a motivator for the team on the ground. Lets hope for a fighting finish in Delhi

  • on March 18, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    Delhi will present a Mickey Mouse situaion! All the FOUR supspnended players, lead by the suspended Watto & 7 others will be fighting it out for OZ. Intersting, indeed!

  • thebatsmansHoldingthebowlersWilley on March 18, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    Amazed he chose to play in the IPL in what is such a busy year for Australia. What state will he be in for the Ashes? If he misses any Ashes tests his decision to play in the IPL will come under scrutiny

  • PrasPunter on March 18, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    Not sure how many floggings we are going to take before we realize what everyone else already has but not us - we don't have a spinner who can take wickets no matter what, not even on rank-turners.

    So whats next for us ? Having already lost the series, Pup can do well by sitting out to make sure he doesnt flare-up his injury. Play 4 bowlers - all seamers - Siddle, Pattinson, Johnson and Starc. Atleast they wouldnt leak runs as Lyon did. Play Khawaja to see his measure.

    Warner, Cowan, Khawaja, Watson, Clarke / Hughes, Haddin, Wade, Siddle, Johnson, Starc and Pattinson is my XI for Delhi.