India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 4th day March 17, 2013

Back injury troubles Clarke again

  shares 38

Australia's miserable tour of India could become even worse with the captain Michael Clarke battling a back injury that may affect his batting on the final day in Mohali. Clarke has had ongoing problems with his back for many years and after hurting it during the warm-up on the fourth morning, he went on and off the field a number of times during India's batting, leaving Brad Haddin in charge during his absence.

Clarke was unable to take his new No. 3 position when Australia batted later in the afternoon and he also did not come out at No. 4 or No. 5, with Phillip Hughes, Steven Smith and the nightwatchman Nathan Lyon all sent in ahead of him. Given that he is Australia's leading run scorer during the series it was a major blow as they aimed to stave off defeat.

"Michael injured his back in the warm-up this morning," the team physio Alex Kountouris said. "He'll undergo further treatment overnight. We'll assess that and see how it settles in the morning."

Clarke's forced move back down the order allowed Hughes to shift back up to first drop and he made his innings count, reaching 53 not out at stumps, easily his best score of what has otherwise been a horror tour for him. The fast bowler Peter Siddle said he was confident Clarke would bat on the final day but he conceded the captain had been really struggling on Sunday.

"I think he'll definitely bat," Siddle said. "It was very sore throughout the day. Everyone knows he's had a bit of trouble with his back. He got some treatment after we came off the field and everything seems to be going along fine. Knowing Michael he'll do everything he can tonight with Alex and be ready to go tomorrow morning as soon as possible, no doubt. He'll want to get out there first-up. I think he'll be ready to go.

"You never want to see your mate in pain or hurting or going off the field and getting treatment, but the boys stuck at it well. Hadds took control out there when he was off the field and did a good job and the boys kept going about their business. I don't think anyone worries about it too much, but it was nice for Hughesy to get out there and dig in and batted superbly today." 

Clarke's back has caused him problems for many years but he has never missed a Test due to the pain. However, Australia have only three days off ahead of the fourth and final Test in Delhi, a short turnaround for Clarke and Australia's medical staff to ensure his fitness.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 19, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    @ Beertjie : I was referring more towards having experienced batsmen around his as opposed to helping him make decisions. I feel that all our batsmen bar Clarke and Cowan are ODI and T20 batters (Watson, Warner, Wade), Hughes doesn't have the faintest idea how to play spin. It makes no difference either you bowl spin or speak in Mandarin. He doesn't have a clue and should have been dropped after the 2nd Test. He didnt convince me much either against Sri Lanka. There would have been nothing wrong in sending an old head to fly off to India with Haddin. I'm not really worried about our bowlers because Patto, Bird, Starc, Cummins will take Oz to No 1 again after we find a couple batsmen that are capable of scoring a couple centuries per series. The future is bright with our seamers. I wouldn't worry much about not having any class spinner. The Windies didn't during their reign and neither do S.A now.

  • Beertjie on March 18, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    Agree @Stan Prokopiou on (March 17, 2013, 19:58 GMT) that Clarke needs sound heads around him, but will he listen to them? Chris Rogers and Punter couldn't get along. Does Clarke want his experience in English conditions around? Frankly, I doubt it. Well you can't have it both ways. Either you continue to give newbies opportunities and accept that you will lose, or you try and mix and match for given conditions and give old heads limited opportunities. Rogers could replace one of the 4 openers currently selected and be dropped if he doesn't succeed. But give him a fair go and he'll do his homework and contribute to the dressing-room. But there has to be different strokes for different folks. He's 15 years older than Pattinson, so treat him accordingly, not as someone with limited experience, even if he only played 1 test!

  • venkatesh018 on March 18, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    Take a break, Clarke for the Delhi Test. You deserve it though the rest of the team definitely doesn't. My XI For Delhi: Warner, Cowan, Watson(Captain), Khwaja, Smith, Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Pattinson, Siddle, Starc, Lyon. Try out Khwaja before the Ashes begins.

  • Barnesy4444 on March 18, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    Give Clarke a rest for the 4th test. No point risking it. Watson in for Clarke at 4, Khawaja and Pattinson in for either Henriques, Doherty or Smith. Hughes remains at 3, he's an opener and has to stay near the top. This is a glimpse of what he's capable of, that LBW was a shocker.

  • tomhedley on March 18, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    @BhuJo, wow!!! That could be the most ridiculous stuff I've ever read!!!

  • on March 18, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    Its funny how Clarke always gets injured when things don't go his way.

  • Jaggadaaku on March 18, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    @BhuJo, First Watson should get his form back in the tests because only from-less cricketer becomes a captain in only India.

  • Vishnu27 on March 18, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    @BhuJo: please do not comment on things you clearly have little idea about. Without doubt, Michael Clarke is one of Australia's most tactically sound, astute & attacking captains of recent history. He is prepared to try things on the field, roll the dice when necessary & leads by example with the bat. End of story. To suggest otherwise is absolute nonsense.

  • trav29 on March 18, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    not surprising he has a bad back when hes been carrying the rest of the team for the majority of the last year

  • on March 18, 2013, 0:15 GMT

    Clarke's there to bat not be injured! Harsh,No,he came into this test and all tests with a dodgy back! If he is not physically capable then find someone who is! Thats the bottom line because it isn't going to get any easier from here on in!

  • on March 19, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    @ Beertjie : I was referring more towards having experienced batsmen around his as opposed to helping him make decisions. I feel that all our batsmen bar Clarke and Cowan are ODI and T20 batters (Watson, Warner, Wade), Hughes doesn't have the faintest idea how to play spin. It makes no difference either you bowl spin or speak in Mandarin. He doesn't have a clue and should have been dropped after the 2nd Test. He didnt convince me much either against Sri Lanka. There would have been nothing wrong in sending an old head to fly off to India with Haddin. I'm not really worried about our bowlers because Patto, Bird, Starc, Cummins will take Oz to No 1 again after we find a couple batsmen that are capable of scoring a couple centuries per series. The future is bright with our seamers. I wouldn't worry much about not having any class spinner. The Windies didn't during their reign and neither do S.A now.

  • Beertjie on March 18, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    Agree @Stan Prokopiou on (March 17, 2013, 19:58 GMT) that Clarke needs sound heads around him, but will he listen to them? Chris Rogers and Punter couldn't get along. Does Clarke want his experience in English conditions around? Frankly, I doubt it. Well you can't have it both ways. Either you continue to give newbies opportunities and accept that you will lose, or you try and mix and match for given conditions and give old heads limited opportunities. Rogers could replace one of the 4 openers currently selected and be dropped if he doesn't succeed. But give him a fair go and he'll do his homework and contribute to the dressing-room. But there has to be different strokes for different folks. He's 15 years older than Pattinson, so treat him accordingly, not as someone with limited experience, even if he only played 1 test!

  • venkatesh018 on March 18, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    Take a break, Clarke for the Delhi Test. You deserve it though the rest of the team definitely doesn't. My XI For Delhi: Warner, Cowan, Watson(Captain), Khwaja, Smith, Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Pattinson, Siddle, Starc, Lyon. Try out Khwaja before the Ashes begins.

  • Barnesy4444 on March 18, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    Give Clarke a rest for the 4th test. No point risking it. Watson in for Clarke at 4, Khawaja and Pattinson in for either Henriques, Doherty or Smith. Hughes remains at 3, he's an opener and has to stay near the top. This is a glimpse of what he's capable of, that LBW was a shocker.

  • tomhedley on March 18, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    @BhuJo, wow!!! That could be the most ridiculous stuff I've ever read!!!

  • on March 18, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    Its funny how Clarke always gets injured when things don't go his way.

  • Jaggadaaku on March 18, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    @BhuJo, First Watson should get his form back in the tests because only from-less cricketer becomes a captain in only India.

  • Vishnu27 on March 18, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    @BhuJo: please do not comment on things you clearly have little idea about. Without doubt, Michael Clarke is one of Australia's most tactically sound, astute & attacking captains of recent history. He is prepared to try things on the field, roll the dice when necessary & leads by example with the bat. End of story. To suggest otherwise is absolute nonsense.

  • trav29 on March 18, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    not surprising he has a bad back when hes been carrying the rest of the team for the majority of the last year

  • on March 18, 2013, 0:15 GMT

    Clarke's there to bat not be injured! Harsh,No,he came into this test and all tests with a dodgy back! If he is not physically capable then find someone who is! Thats the bottom line because it isn't going to get any easier from here on in!

  • Edwards_Anderson on March 17, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    If Clarke is not 100% then rest him for the fourth test unless of course we can win today. If not then don't risk him any further, Khawaja deserves a crack and can come in to strenthen the top order. As for his IPL commitments Clarke should focus on the ashes if that will lead to further injury.

  • on March 17, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    I think Clarke is a good enough captain. But he wants to be too aggressive in his field placing not realizing that his bowlers are not good enough to support his tacticts. He should have defended a bit more in India's inngs and stop the flow of runs. Example if he had maintain a sweeper at all times, Darwan might not have celebrated a record right now. Even when Dhoni has a 200 run lead, he still maintains a sweeper - thus making it harder for the batsman. Right now the ball has started to turn vigorously and if Clarke cannot bat, it looks like "Dooms Day" for Australia. But let's hope for the best.

    Everyone wants Watson to return to be vice captain! Why? Is it because you just like him? What is his contribution as a batsman so far? I will always maintain that Watson is not test material and need to put him where he belongs - in one days.

  • righthandbat on March 17, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    Clarke may need to play only tests for the remainder of his career. The Ashes in 2015 would be a good goal for him to reach and retire aftwards.

  • MinusZero on March 17, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    Is he injured or just protecting his average. He finally moved up the order and got out for a golden duck...

  • Humdingers on March 17, 2013, 22:44 GMT

    I'm not sure why people are criticizing Clarke's captaincy. He is one of the more aggressive and inventive captains going around. Dhoni should take notes on how to be more aggressive and go for the win more than settle for draws. Not to mention leading from the front and scoring runs (yes Dhoni scored 200 - but before that, what has be done? - oh wait he lost 0-8 in England and Australia and even lost at home to England).

  • ThinkSports on March 17, 2013, 22:30 GMT

    Michael Clark is the best to captain Aussies at the moment. Just to loose something in the dead wickets of India, one wants to dismantle Aussies good team! Just over an year ago what India suffered in Australia is not forgotten because of the team ability gluing with old guys in the team. Political and misleading comments bring no joy to anyone understanding the game of cricket. No one has put any light on the extreme measures India took to suit the home team. Cricket is gentleman's game and it should remain, where respect of the opponent is enjoyed. Mixing Bollywood with cricket might be a new dish for India's taste but cricket lovers hate it.

  • MrArmchairCricket on March 17, 2013, 22:22 GMT

    It's really not all that surprising that Michael Clarke's back injury has flared up again, considering his almost single-handedly carrying this team.

  • Moppa on March 17, 2013, 22:22 GMT

    @BhuJo, you are quite right, in Shane Watson Australia clearly has someone with the physical resilience and mental toughness to captain the team for a long time. He has always delivered for Australia when most needed. I predict Watson will be the sort of captain who will make four double centuries in a single year and lead his team from the front. Unlike that namby pamby Clarke who was always a poser and has too many tatts.

    Disclaimer: at risk of cross-cultural misunderstanding, sarcasm may have been used in the making of this comment

  • TheMeanMachine on March 17, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    Perhaps Clarke can do a Greame Smith and come out to bat in pain and save the Test. It does seem unlikely though because even this predicted heroic effort, he wouldn't rally his team to bat the entire last day with all the three top order batsman who made runs in the first innings being back in the pavilion.

  • cricmatters on March 17, 2013, 21:43 GMT

    After sending your best performing players home for not doing their homework and getting a golden duck by charging down the pitch the very first ball is not good captaincy. He obviously needs better people skills and sort out his communication problems if he wants to be a true leader who can rally the players when things don't go your way. It is not how badly you are knocked down but how quickly you get up and regroup is the mark of a good team. England were comprehensively beaten in the first test but they quickly learned from their mistakes and instead of turning on each other, they put together a winning formula. Just like Kevin Pietersen, Australia will need Watson to win matches. If Clarke is not capable of working with others, Australia will have to find a new captain and use his skills as a pure batsman.

  • Jaffa79 on March 17, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    Clarke really needs to knock the IPL on the head. If he plays, I can see him missing the Ashes. Can you imagine Australia without Clarke? Dear god...it would be carnage.

  • on March 17, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    @ BhuJo, sorry mate you are talking rubbish. MJ Clarke is a fine captain and will get better. He's unlucky not to have much quality and sound heads around him any more like Ponting and Hussey. If this Aussie team had Chris Rogers, Brad Hodge and Haddin featuring regularly, things would be much better. Wade should play as a batsman. If anything we are missing some experienced heads. Xavier Doherty should never, ever be called up for Test cricket again. He's by far the worst Aussie spinner I've ever seen. He's barely good enough for Shield cricket.

  • on March 17, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    i have one question,,why umpires name is not writen on their shirts,,umpires name and their countries name should be written on their shirts,,everybody should know their names and countries names from which they belongs,,becoz they are doing a very important job of justice,,i request to cricinfo plz publish my comment and try to highlight this issue..i will be so happy if this will work out..thanks to espncricinfo team for their fabulous job and hardwork.its very diffucult to cover all events but you people are incredible..

  • Klgn on March 17, 2013, 18:50 GMT

    Clark should leave cricket and go home!! He is not a kind of captain where Australia look for. In past Aus fortunate to have legendary/leadership quality of Sir Allan Boarder, Great Mark Taylor, Great Steve Waugh and Great Ricky ponting!! Clark simply sucksss!!! Why can't try for another one, give it to Shane Watson!!!!! He is the Right MAN!!!! If ACB understand this dimension!!

  • Klgn on March 17, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    Mike Clark, is really not fit physically and mentally for test cricket as a captain. His captain ship is ordinary and already running out of idea. Field arrangement is not logical. Some where he put fielders which is not necessary. Each player should be utilized in ground field perfectly. Also he is short of patience, while getting out on first ball with leaving his crease!!! My mind suggesting for "Shane Watson" can be and as a very good test captain and capable of every situation to deal with Aussie way!!!

  • Thefakebook on March 17, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    MJ CLarke will bat in a wheel chair if needed but if he misses the 4th test who will captain Bradly or Watson??????

  • gandhala on March 17, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    wat more motivating stuff do the boys need? Its right time for everyone in the team to put their hands up for their captain.I wish this will give Australia to show a much better performance in the final test if not in the final day of this test as already 3 wickets gone

  • Edassery on March 17, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    Agree that he shouldn't participate in IPL this time to take rest. The load and pressure on the Aussie skipper is more than ever due to his non-performing and clueless team mates

  • on March 17, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    who will save team australia now..

  • blink182alex on March 17, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    I think this should really persuade Clarke to give this years IPL a miss, even if his sponsors want him to play the national duties come first. I still think we will see him walking out to bat 2moro.

  • on March 17, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    wow clarke is getting so many injures maybe clarke should rest for a while and come back strong he one of the tops batsman at the moment along with cook and hashim amla hopefully he comes back strong

  • on March 17, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    In all probabilities , India will win tomorrow.Also i hope the same indian team plays in the 4th test.

  • Dhanvanth on March 17, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    The Australian team management has to seriously weigh Clarke's future and give him some rest ahead of ashes test series in England. Missing out ipl and champions trophy for ashes s oly good!

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on March 17, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    im not a haddin fan but it is pretty amazing that a guy who wasn't even picked in the touring squad is now most likely going to captain in the 4th test. I think Australia need to really plan for the worst and hope for the best when it comes to clarkes future. His back may get the best of him and there needs to be a captain in waiting

  • JayanDamodaran on March 17, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    It is sad news. As one of the best batsmen around the world these days all fans irrespective of nationality would love to find Michael Clarke recover fast. Only those who suffer from back pain knows the severity of it. Bearing it he has been outstanding throughout a year and a half at the peak of his form. It's for players like Hashim Amla, Kumara Sangakara and Kevin Pietersen that we cricket lovers turn around these days. We would like to watch him play for Australia tomorrow if the need comes. Get Well Soon Michael!

  • on March 17, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    Cmon PUP we need you badly, Siddle bowled superbly - true work horse

  • I-Like-Cricket on March 17, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    I know Haddin would be the likely to captain if Clarke was unavailable since I don't see Watto coming back but I'd like to see Warner give it a crack and just see if the extra pressure helps him perform. I'm referring to his 123* against NZ, everyone was protesting that he wasn't ready for test cricket and he really proved everyone wrong carrying his bat with the best/most responsible innings that I've personally ever seen.

  • Potatis on March 17, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    It's really great too that Clarke decided it would be nice to play IPL before the Ashes. It's a waste of time Clarke playing the 4th test, he should go home and have a couple of months break to get ready for England.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Potatis on March 17, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    It's really great too that Clarke decided it would be nice to play IPL before the Ashes. It's a waste of time Clarke playing the 4th test, he should go home and have a couple of months break to get ready for England.

  • I-Like-Cricket on March 17, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    I know Haddin would be the likely to captain if Clarke was unavailable since I don't see Watto coming back but I'd like to see Warner give it a crack and just see if the extra pressure helps him perform. I'm referring to his 123* against NZ, everyone was protesting that he wasn't ready for test cricket and he really proved everyone wrong carrying his bat with the best/most responsible innings that I've personally ever seen.

  • on March 17, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    Cmon PUP we need you badly, Siddle bowled superbly - true work horse

  • JayanDamodaran on March 17, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    It is sad news. As one of the best batsmen around the world these days all fans irrespective of nationality would love to find Michael Clarke recover fast. Only those who suffer from back pain knows the severity of it. Bearing it he has been outstanding throughout a year and a half at the peak of his form. It's for players like Hashim Amla, Kumara Sangakara and Kevin Pietersen that we cricket lovers turn around these days. We would like to watch him play for Australia tomorrow if the need comes. Get Well Soon Michael!

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on March 17, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    im not a haddin fan but it is pretty amazing that a guy who wasn't even picked in the touring squad is now most likely going to captain in the 4th test. I think Australia need to really plan for the worst and hope for the best when it comes to clarkes future. His back may get the best of him and there needs to be a captain in waiting

  • Dhanvanth on March 17, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    The Australian team management has to seriously weigh Clarke's future and give him some rest ahead of ashes test series in England. Missing out ipl and champions trophy for ashes s oly good!

  • on March 17, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    In all probabilities , India will win tomorrow.Also i hope the same indian team plays in the 4th test.

  • on March 17, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    wow clarke is getting so many injures maybe clarke should rest for a while and come back strong he one of the tops batsman at the moment along with cook and hashim amla hopefully he comes back strong

  • blink182alex on March 17, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    I think this should really persuade Clarke to give this years IPL a miss, even if his sponsors want him to play the national duties come first. I still think we will see him walking out to bat 2moro.

  • on March 17, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    who will save team australia now..