August 5, 2009

Australia need Clark's control

The leaking of runs has made things easier for England's batsmen - and that's where Clark comes in
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It's never an easy situation being 1-0 behind with two games to play, but Australia must win at Headingley to stay in touch. I firmly believe they can come back, there just needs to be a change in the bowling. Stuart Clark will come in - they really need his control - and either Mitchell Johnson or Peter Siddle will miss out. Brett Lee will also be talked about but I doubt the selectors will rush him back without having a warm-up game.

If Brett says he's fit, then he's fit, but he's only just started to bowl at full pace again and I get the feeling they will be reluctant to bring him in. It would be different if he had played the first two Tests and then missed the third one, but he had such a long layoff following ankle surgery and then he suffered this rib injury in Worcester. The selectors will want to see some proof that he's fit and firing before they rely on him again.

There's no doubt Brett will play the two-day tour game at Canterbury after this Test and then be in line for The Oval, if everything works out. He could charge in for the final game when the series is on the line!

So for Leeds, Clark is in, Ben Hilfenhaus is a definite and they have to play Nathan Hauritz. Always play one spinner at Headingley. That leaves a choice between Johnson and Siddle. After the Edgbaston draw Ricky Ponting talked up Johnson and said Siddle had some work to do, which could be a pointer. I'm a massive wrap for both of these guys - they are wonderful young quicks - but being dropped is no bad thing as a bowler. It's definitely not the end of the world.

Sometimes being dropped gives you time to reflect on what you have been struggling with and you get more of an opportunity to fix things. When you are playing all the time training is about keeping fresh and getting ready for the next stint in the field. A rest might be a good thing, although it won't feel like it immediately. Mitch was better in Birmingham, but both he and Sidds are still below their best.

Throughout the series there hasn't been pressure at both ends and it has become a real problem. At the other end Hilfenhaus has been fantastic, he's pitched it up, swung it, and hasn't gone for four or five an over. But with the leaking of runs has made things easier for England's batsmen - and that's where Clark comes in.

There might be some rain during the Test and if the conditions are cloudy it will help the bowlers, like it did at Edgbaston. Headingley has changed in years gone by, but when I played two seasons there with Yorkshire, whenever the cloud came over it started to swing. It's also a wonderful batting surface when the sun is shining and the birds are singing - not that it happens every day in Leeds!

I was impressed with the way the team scrapped for the draw on Monday and I'm sure they can hit back, but they have to remember to have some fun. It's easy to get down on a long tour, especially when you're behind, and team activities are crucial. In 2001 we played pub golf, a little pub crawl which got everyone together and was a great squad experience. Team togetherness is always an important thing and this team could spend a bit more time together in social situations.

Brett Lee will also be talked about but I doubt the selectors will rush him back without having a warm-up game

In the past blokes used to share hotel rooms, but now players have their own rooms and sometimes go into their shell, sitting in the room watching a DVD or playing XBox. There's a lot to be said for all meeting up and having a beer or soft drink.

Despite some setbacks, there's a lot for Australia to be optimistic about. Seriously! We've seen some great signs from the batsmen, Marcus North and Michael Clarke were great in the second innings in the third Test along with Michael Hussey and Shane Watson. The bowling is worrying me a little bit more, but Clark will bring that element of control.

With two games left Australia are hanging on. They've played three matches, thoroughly outplaying England in the first Test, then being thoroughly outplayed by England in the past two. And they're still only 1-0 down. Keep the faith.

Jason Gillespie is sixth on Australia's list of Test wicket-takers with 259 in 71 matches. He will write for Cricinfo through the 2009 Ashes

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • MartinAmber on August 6, 2009, 19:17 GMT

    Right now on cricinfo there's a preview of the Headingley Test which refers to the possibility of Ponting becoming the "first Australian captain in 100 years to lose two series in England."

    Now, I'm a passionate England fan. But, leaving aside our media's woeful sensationalising of everything to do with Ricky Ponting, which has become a total embarrassment, do you think they might get round to reminding us that he is also the only Australian (or indeed English) captain in 89 years to lead his side to an Ashes whitewash?

    More considered analyses will rightly point out what most people have said here: that Ponting has been hamstrung by an indefensible, complacent and plain stupid squad selection.

    Honestly, most England fans were dreading Stuart Clark playing here, whether or not he's lost a yard of pace.

  • Gippslander on August 6, 2009, 18:17 GMT

    I think the Aussies have to go for broke and play Lee and Clark. Surely it's lower risk for Australia to select Lee than England's roll of the dice with Flintoff's knee?

    Lee's reverse swing looked lethal in the Lions match and the conditions at Headingley may well suit Clark more than Johnson or Siddle.

    In fact, should Hussey make way for a 5th bowler (McDonald) if Haddin is fit enough to play?

    Perhaps that would be a bet too far for 'Punter' but I think an attack of Lee, Hilfenhaus, Clark, McDonald and Hauritz just might bowl England out twice.

  • Beggnog on August 6, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    I agree with MrSmith in that the selectors are showing faith (blind faith, in my view) in the Johnson-Siddle-Hilfenhaus trio from South Africa. However, what is conveniently forgotten about our success there was McDonald's massive contribution in bowling long, tight spells & building pressure with his awkward seamers. I have said it before and I'll say it again, tall economical bowlers who bowl with an upright seam, stump to stump, are what you build a bowling attack around. They are the guys that make supposedly more aggressive operators like Johnson, Lee and Siddle look good. Thus, for heaven's sake, bring in Clark (who is far and away the best of our talls) now!

  • Beertjie on August 6, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    I agree with Uranium about the poor selectorial decision-making. Still, all is still not lost. Clark will do the steadying job, allowing Johnson and Lee to attack in short bursts or when its reversing, etc. Hilfenhaus will keep doing what he's done so far. With that attack and decent catching (Manou again even if Haddin is fit!), they'll get 20 wickets. Then its over to the batsmen. Can they bat half-decently against the swinging ball? Can Punterand Hussey show some of their old form in English conditions. If they can, it'll be 1-1 on Tuesday!

  • TheOzGov on August 6, 2009, 9:36 GMT

    This is slightly off topic, but does anyone find the fact that Watson is always so oppinionated in the media a little bit annoying, espcially his comments regarding Brett Lee not being fit (even is he's not), as Watson must be the most injury prone player ever to wear the Baggy Green!

  • rrajanchn on August 6, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    Ricky Ponting is a poor captain. He should have used Stuart Clark from the first match itself. The next 2 matches can be won if Australia picks this team: 1) Phil Hughes 2) Simon KAtich 3) Ricky Ponting 4) M Clarke 5)M Hussey [Wicket Keeper and key batsman] 6)M North 7) M Johnson 8)Stuart Clark 9)N Hauritz 10) Brett Lee 11)Ben Hilfenhaus

    This team will certainly roll over England if Ricky uses his bowlers intelligently (!) in short spells. Otherwise, I don't see Aussies winning either of the two games.

  • MrJames on August 6, 2009, 8:46 GMT

    Guys, remember both sides have to be taken account. Selectors are showing faith in the Johnson-Siddle-Hilfenhaus Trio considering it was them that helped beat South Africa (remember?). Johnson seems to be coming back and Hilfenhaus is having a great series which means these 2 have to be retained. Johnson has still got a fair amount of wickets despite being far from his best, not to forget his all-round ability.Siddle is getting wickets but i believe Lee has the ability to get wickets too and provides the cult figure from 05 that Australia strongly need. The aura and feeling that Flintoff provides. To be honest i do not believe that Flintoff has done great, but the tension when he comes out to bowl and bat helps England tenfold. Hauritz has done a great job so far therefore i believe he should retain his spot. But that means Clark yet again misses out.

  • rtom on August 6, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    who is selecting the Aussie team these days ?? For me Aussie team means a team who can dismiss the opposition twice in a test match !! I guess nobody else in the recent past had that strength ( Forget the great WI pace attack.. leave them alone). These bowlers in Aussie team does not deserve a place in the 11. just get back Clark and Lee.. then see the change in the team...

  • Ozcricketwriter on August 6, 2009, 7:50 GMT

    If Lee is fit, then it doesn't seem to be complicated at all. Drop BOTH Siddle AND Johnson and bring in BOTH Lee AND Stuart Clark (no e in Clark, guys). The absence of Stuart Clark has been hurting Australia since day 1, much like how continuing to play Gillespie in 2005 hurt Australia then. One big difference is that this time around not only are they continuing to play an out of form bowler (Johnson this time, Gillespie in 2005) but they are also leaving out their best bowler (Stuart Clark) for no understandable reason. I have not read a single reason to leave Clark out, other than insanity. He is not injured, not out of form. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for him to be kept out.

  • Benkl on August 6, 2009, 7:49 GMT

    He is fit , even if he is a 50% chance to bowl well you must take Lee , in the Lions game he and Harmison were the only bowler who looked good . The bowling attack has no penetration and swapping Clarke for Siddle ( which is a given) will not help.

    So if Ben H has an off day who will lead ? Clarke , Nathan , Johnson or Watson. None unless Johnson hits his best in which case we will win regardless. Plan for the worst..

    Swap Lee for Nathan for this game its not a spinning ground anyway besides we have 3 ok spin bowlers and i don't think Nathan is much better than Clark or Katitch there average is about the same. They cant keep it tight but can get wickets , North can keep it tight in the right conditions. Besides with Ben H , Watson , Clarke , Johnson and Lee you should have some bowlers who are bowling well and many options for the conditions.

  • MartinAmber on August 6, 2009, 19:17 GMT

    Right now on cricinfo there's a preview of the Headingley Test which refers to the possibility of Ponting becoming the "first Australian captain in 100 years to lose two series in England."

    Now, I'm a passionate England fan. But, leaving aside our media's woeful sensationalising of everything to do with Ricky Ponting, which has become a total embarrassment, do you think they might get round to reminding us that he is also the only Australian (or indeed English) captain in 89 years to lead his side to an Ashes whitewash?

    More considered analyses will rightly point out what most people have said here: that Ponting has been hamstrung by an indefensible, complacent and plain stupid squad selection.

    Honestly, most England fans were dreading Stuart Clark playing here, whether or not he's lost a yard of pace.

  • Gippslander on August 6, 2009, 18:17 GMT

    I think the Aussies have to go for broke and play Lee and Clark. Surely it's lower risk for Australia to select Lee than England's roll of the dice with Flintoff's knee?

    Lee's reverse swing looked lethal in the Lions match and the conditions at Headingley may well suit Clark more than Johnson or Siddle.

    In fact, should Hussey make way for a 5th bowler (McDonald) if Haddin is fit enough to play?

    Perhaps that would be a bet too far for 'Punter' but I think an attack of Lee, Hilfenhaus, Clark, McDonald and Hauritz just might bowl England out twice.

  • Beggnog on August 6, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    I agree with MrSmith in that the selectors are showing faith (blind faith, in my view) in the Johnson-Siddle-Hilfenhaus trio from South Africa. However, what is conveniently forgotten about our success there was McDonald's massive contribution in bowling long, tight spells & building pressure with his awkward seamers. I have said it before and I'll say it again, tall economical bowlers who bowl with an upright seam, stump to stump, are what you build a bowling attack around. They are the guys that make supposedly more aggressive operators like Johnson, Lee and Siddle look good. Thus, for heaven's sake, bring in Clark (who is far and away the best of our talls) now!

  • Beertjie on August 6, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    I agree with Uranium about the poor selectorial decision-making. Still, all is still not lost. Clark will do the steadying job, allowing Johnson and Lee to attack in short bursts or when its reversing, etc. Hilfenhaus will keep doing what he's done so far. With that attack and decent catching (Manou again even if Haddin is fit!), they'll get 20 wickets. Then its over to the batsmen. Can they bat half-decently against the swinging ball? Can Punterand Hussey show some of their old form in English conditions. If they can, it'll be 1-1 on Tuesday!

  • TheOzGov on August 6, 2009, 9:36 GMT

    This is slightly off topic, but does anyone find the fact that Watson is always so oppinionated in the media a little bit annoying, espcially his comments regarding Brett Lee not being fit (even is he's not), as Watson must be the most injury prone player ever to wear the Baggy Green!

  • rrajanchn on August 6, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    Ricky Ponting is a poor captain. He should have used Stuart Clark from the first match itself. The next 2 matches can be won if Australia picks this team: 1) Phil Hughes 2) Simon KAtich 3) Ricky Ponting 4) M Clarke 5)M Hussey [Wicket Keeper and key batsman] 6)M North 7) M Johnson 8)Stuart Clark 9)N Hauritz 10) Brett Lee 11)Ben Hilfenhaus

    This team will certainly roll over England if Ricky uses his bowlers intelligently (!) in short spells. Otherwise, I don't see Aussies winning either of the two games.

  • MrJames on August 6, 2009, 8:46 GMT

    Guys, remember both sides have to be taken account. Selectors are showing faith in the Johnson-Siddle-Hilfenhaus Trio considering it was them that helped beat South Africa (remember?). Johnson seems to be coming back and Hilfenhaus is having a great series which means these 2 have to be retained. Johnson has still got a fair amount of wickets despite being far from his best, not to forget his all-round ability.Siddle is getting wickets but i believe Lee has the ability to get wickets too and provides the cult figure from 05 that Australia strongly need. The aura and feeling that Flintoff provides. To be honest i do not believe that Flintoff has done great, but the tension when he comes out to bowl and bat helps England tenfold. Hauritz has done a great job so far therefore i believe he should retain his spot. But that means Clark yet again misses out.

  • rtom on August 6, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    who is selecting the Aussie team these days ?? For me Aussie team means a team who can dismiss the opposition twice in a test match !! I guess nobody else in the recent past had that strength ( Forget the great WI pace attack.. leave them alone). These bowlers in Aussie team does not deserve a place in the 11. just get back Clark and Lee.. then see the change in the team...

  • Ozcricketwriter on August 6, 2009, 7:50 GMT

    If Lee is fit, then it doesn't seem to be complicated at all. Drop BOTH Siddle AND Johnson and bring in BOTH Lee AND Stuart Clark (no e in Clark, guys). The absence of Stuart Clark has been hurting Australia since day 1, much like how continuing to play Gillespie in 2005 hurt Australia then. One big difference is that this time around not only are they continuing to play an out of form bowler (Johnson this time, Gillespie in 2005) but they are also leaving out their best bowler (Stuart Clark) for no understandable reason. I have not read a single reason to leave Clark out, other than insanity. He is not injured, not out of form. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for him to be kept out.

  • Benkl on August 6, 2009, 7:49 GMT

    He is fit , even if he is a 50% chance to bowl well you must take Lee , in the Lions game he and Harmison were the only bowler who looked good . The bowling attack has no penetration and swapping Clarke for Siddle ( which is a given) will not help.

    So if Ben H has an off day who will lead ? Clarke , Nathan , Johnson or Watson. None unless Johnson hits his best in which case we will win regardless. Plan for the worst..

    Swap Lee for Nathan for this game its not a spinning ground anyway besides we have 3 ok spin bowlers and i don't think Nathan is much better than Clark or Katitch there average is about the same. They cant keep it tight but can get wickets , North can keep it tight in the right conditions. Besides with Ben H , Watson , Clarke , Johnson and Lee you should have some bowlers who are bowling well and many options for the conditions.

  • dowdy on August 6, 2009, 6:09 GMT

    As a huge follower of aussie cricket, it still absolutely astounds me why Stu Clarke is not playing for us over there. We need control, consistency and the ability to move the ball both ways off the seam...something none of the present bowlers have proven they can do over there. We are lacking aggression and the ability to build pressure, something that we have missed substantially since our greats Warne and McGrath left. A simple formula in test cricket that we need back it seems can only be provided by Clark, as Sidds and Johnson have failed to deliver. Bring back Clarky to execute the formula, line and length. I feel Greg Matthews frustration on SBS everytime he talks about it. Cmon selectors, earn your money and rest Sidds. Heres to 1 all.

  • 68704 on August 6, 2009, 5:50 GMT

    I think the australians have gone for that extra yard of pace that Siddle provides , but unfortunately for him Johnson has been wayward, so he has had no scope for error and whilst he has bowled well in patches, he too has been guilty of letting the englishmen free. Australia has two options, do a straignt swop of Clarke for Siddle and england will find both clarke and Hilfenfaus difficult to get away and this may actually help Johnson. The other option is a riskier one, Lee for Siddle and Mcdonald for Hauritz. Given the prospects of rain and cloud, this may strengthen the batting and give Lee the optionof bowling in shorter spurts. I agree that Clarke has been given a raw deal but the selectors have been goofing off for a long time now. Keeping players in the sidelines for too long and persisting with them too briefly. I feel sorry for Hughes, who on his day could take the game away from England, But his time will come. Sridhar

  • Hornstinger on August 6, 2009, 5:48 GMT

    We need a bowler with real Ashes experience. None of these current boys have really had any except Brett Lee who is under a cloud. Bring in Stuart Clark who had a rip roaring 06-07 series and watch the Ashes get retained.

  • Graduated_Cheetah on August 6, 2009, 5:16 GMT

    Not picking Clark in 3rd Test and still not considering him for the 4th Test is the biggest mistake by the Aussie Selectors ... They have to pick their Best Bowler to level the series ...

    Johnson or Siddle ... Either has to go ...

  • solly100 on August 6, 2009, 4:33 GMT

    I agree with everyone else (on the planet) apart from the ACB selectors - that Clark is needed. Nielson says that Siddle & Clark are too similar. Then it's really simple - drop Siddle. When you aren't winning and don't look like taking 20 wickets, something has to give. Siddle bowled well in patches but couldn't maintain pressure - which ius desperately needed. I find it amusing that they picked Hauritz because he can build pressure but don't pick fast bowlers on similar principles. It's not as if Clark is some un tested bowler - he is one of our best. To pick Siddle over him was ok for Cardiff then Lords as we almost won Cardiff. But Lords exposed our weakness in bowling so we need Clark badly

  • Blitzthelotaya on August 6, 2009, 4:05 GMT

    Jason Gillespie for PM! Look at Clark's bowling average v's England... 26 wickets @ 17. The same as his batting average vs England incidently. Lee has 62 @ 41, What the? (Hussey's batting average is only 29 vs England - save that for another time). I've got an idea selectors.... PUT YOUR BEST BOWLER IN THE SIDE!!!!!! My prediction; We play Clark, we win the series. We don't, we lose. It's a no brainer. The ONLY one's drumming up a Lee comeback is Lee himself and the English media. Doesn't that say something? They fear Clark, 'cause he is all over them. Go for it Jason... talk some sense into the selectors PLEASE!

  • fairdinkum on August 6, 2009, 3:33 GMT

    It would be difficult to justify brining in Lee for Siddle. Lee has always leaked runs as a bowler and like Siddle, who has 10 wickets for the series, is a wicket-taker. Mitch Johnson must be persevered with, and his allrounder ability gives him a definite edge for selection.

  • rohanbala on August 6, 2009, 1:24 GMT

    "but being dropped is no bad thing as a bowler. It's definitely not the end of the world".... Thanks Jason for your honest views. There can be no better player than Jason to say these words, coming as it did from a person who was discarded by his selectors after scoring a test double century. The current Australian fast men should draw inspiration from you.

  • Woody111 on August 6, 2009, 0:57 GMT

    There are two elements with the perseverance of the bowling lineup to me. Firstly I don't think selectors were convinced with the battting and subsequently have dropped a bloke after 2 tests with no runs (funny how Hussey had 20 of those excluding 1 ton!). Therefore they were reluctant to fiddle with the bowling as well. Secondly, the bowling lineup performed so well in South Africa so perhaps they wanted to give them every chance. Johnson is certainly getting back to form and is more likely to produce jaffas so he'll stay. Siddle will miss out at Headingly and Clark will finally get his chance to prove why he is the most accurate bowler in the country. As Johnson has been spraying it, Siddle has been leaking runs too, all the pressure has been on Hilfenhaus to do the job. With Clark and Hilfenhaus in the same side Ponting can use Johnson to impact when Aus needs it the most: knowing that there won't be four-balls being bowled constantly at the other end. That is building pressure.

  • Rooboy on August 6, 2009, 0:06 GMT

    It's so obvious, isn't it Dizz? As others have already noted here, it seems that the only people who don't think Clark would benefit the Aussie team are the selectors. I can't believe the possibility of playing Lee ahead of Clark is even being disscused

  • Rusty_1 on August 5, 2009, 22:57 GMT

    I am sure I will be in the minority here, but I believe that both Lee & Clark need to be played in the 4th test. Siddle & Hauritz need to make way. The only way Australia can win is to put in a dominant bowling effort. Our best bowlers are all pace bowlers, so it fits that we should field an all pace attack. I hear the chorus singing about Lee being untested after coming back after a lay off. I believe if he & Johnson are used in short, aggressive 3-4 over burst at a time with Hilfy & Clark offering control & longer pressure building spells from the other end, we should be able to control the runs & take the 20 wickets required. It is also a good varied pace attack - Lee finally seems to know where to put the ball consistently & has proven he can reverse the ball at extreme pace, Johnson offering aggression, heavy ball bounce & pace, hilfy offering control & swing & Clark offering control, awkward bounce & seam movement.

  • JasonS on August 5, 2009, 21:50 GMT

    I will be ringing up Cricket Australia today, Clark should have played at Lords and at Edgbaton. Clark is a Simular to Glen MCGrath with the line and length they both bowl. Also the Australian selector have been terrible so far and I will suggest they should be sack at the end of this current Ashes series.

  • Big_Oz on August 5, 2009, 21:41 GMT

    Johnson has shown signs of improvement and I think he will be spared the selector's axe for Headingley. Despite Lee's assurances that he is 100% fit I can't see the gamble being taken on him without the chance to put him in match conditions. Clark is the only option and Siddle is the one who's position is under most threat. The Poms have been able to score freely and someone like Clark should be able to reduce their scoring opportunties and help create pressure. That pressure will lead to more wickets. How often did we see McGrath keep it tight at one end only for the bowler at the other end to benefit when the batsmen tried to create scoring opportunities? More of the same please! And that means selecting Clark.

  • Uranium on August 5, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    The inside talk is that Clark has been down on speed compared to before the injury. Apparently he's been stuggling for pace in the nets. Despite that, he's probably still worth of shot, line and length is more important than a quick bowler who sprays the ball around. I would drop Siddle for next test, even though he will be a quality bowler for the future. The selectors shouldn't have dropped Hughes but they probably can't bring him back now because they may have ruined confidence and Watson looked OK with two 50's last test. The selectors and Ponting aren't making as many mistakes as 2005 but its still a pretty shocking decision making exhibition from them.

  • mahne on August 5, 2009, 19:24 GMT

    I think that Australia should choice start Clark as he done great in the match against Northamptonshire and is one of australia's most experienced player at the moment.

  • starcricketer on August 5, 2009, 15:52 GMT

    I believe if the selectors really wanted Clark in the side, they would've chosen him for the 3rd test, but at the moment he seems out of favour with them and preferred Siddle. I don't think that'll change for this test and it seems that only Lee can really sway their minds enough for them to make some changes. I personally believe that they should go with Lee if he's ready. He would give this weak ataack the boost it needs as well as a little bit of reputation/experience, something they've sorely missed with Johnson and Siddle not living up to the hype.

  • Beggnog on August 5, 2009, 15:39 GMT

    The Australian selectors should be sacked. With their continued shunning of our best bowler (Clark), they are bringing misery and utter bewilderment to every cricket fan with commonsense. I wonder what input our fearless captain has with Clark's non-selection because if he has anything to do with this, he should be sacked too. How long will it take for them to realise that tall bowlers who bowl on a length with an upright seam, stump to stump, are actually the most precious of commodities - if you are lucky enough to have one, they should form the cornerstone of your bowling attack. Not to mention that Clark averages 22, obliterating the ridiculous thought held by some that he is not a wicket-taker. At 33 years old, I fear we have missed the best of this bowler. Nonetheless, there is still hope. McDonald has shown Clark-like attributes with the ball and another Victorian, Clint McKay, is one to watch. Give me tall economical bowlers any day.

  • Rockits on August 5, 2009, 15:18 GMT

    I agree with Ed's comments. I think an attack comprising of Johnson (who I believe is slowing regaining his confidence), Clark, Hilfenhaus and Lee (when fully fit) will strengthen the Aussie team which at the moment looks weak in the bowling department. For the 4th test I would avoid risking Lee and play Siddle. I also feel the Aussie bowling attack needs to be more positive and aggressive to win the series.

  • NeilCameron on August 5, 2009, 13:48 GMT

    Of all the bowlers in this Ashes squad, only Clark has both the experience and success in English conditions - his county experience should've made him a automatic selection. Of Johnston and Siddle, I would probably drop Johnston since his form has been worse than Siddle, albeit only slightly. If Siddle doesn't fire in the next test I would drop him for McDonald. I honestly don't rate Lee in English conditions - his record in the UK is embarrassing and if he gets selected I would honestly think the Ashes are gone again. Despite Hauritz's success so far I think he is likely to fade. Hilfenhaus? No idea. Funny since he's our best bowler so far.

  • Ed_Lamb on August 5, 2009, 13:02 GMT

    It seems that the only people who think that Clark shouldn't play are the Aussie selectors! Everyone I speak to from either country can't understand why he's not playing and every journalist either publicly questions his non-selection or suggests that the incumbents must be under pressure from Clark for their place.

    Perhaps the selectors of the Aussie selectors needs to think about a change of personnel? But as an Englishman I'm loving the fact that Australia haven't played their strongest team yet....

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  • Ed_Lamb on August 5, 2009, 13:02 GMT

    It seems that the only people who think that Clark shouldn't play are the Aussie selectors! Everyone I speak to from either country can't understand why he's not playing and every journalist either publicly questions his non-selection or suggests that the incumbents must be under pressure from Clark for their place.

    Perhaps the selectors of the Aussie selectors needs to think about a change of personnel? But as an Englishman I'm loving the fact that Australia haven't played their strongest team yet....

  • NeilCameron on August 5, 2009, 13:48 GMT

    Of all the bowlers in this Ashes squad, only Clark has both the experience and success in English conditions - his county experience should've made him a automatic selection. Of Johnston and Siddle, I would probably drop Johnston since his form has been worse than Siddle, albeit only slightly. If Siddle doesn't fire in the next test I would drop him for McDonald. I honestly don't rate Lee in English conditions - his record in the UK is embarrassing and if he gets selected I would honestly think the Ashes are gone again. Despite Hauritz's success so far I think he is likely to fade. Hilfenhaus? No idea. Funny since he's our best bowler so far.

  • Rockits on August 5, 2009, 15:18 GMT

    I agree with Ed's comments. I think an attack comprising of Johnson (who I believe is slowing regaining his confidence), Clark, Hilfenhaus and Lee (when fully fit) will strengthen the Aussie team which at the moment looks weak in the bowling department. For the 4th test I would avoid risking Lee and play Siddle. I also feel the Aussie bowling attack needs to be more positive and aggressive to win the series.

  • Beggnog on August 5, 2009, 15:39 GMT

    The Australian selectors should be sacked. With their continued shunning of our best bowler (Clark), they are bringing misery and utter bewilderment to every cricket fan with commonsense. I wonder what input our fearless captain has with Clark's non-selection because if he has anything to do with this, he should be sacked too. How long will it take for them to realise that tall bowlers who bowl on a length with an upright seam, stump to stump, are actually the most precious of commodities - if you are lucky enough to have one, they should form the cornerstone of your bowling attack. Not to mention that Clark averages 22, obliterating the ridiculous thought held by some that he is not a wicket-taker. At 33 years old, I fear we have missed the best of this bowler. Nonetheless, there is still hope. McDonald has shown Clark-like attributes with the ball and another Victorian, Clint McKay, is one to watch. Give me tall economical bowlers any day.

  • starcricketer on August 5, 2009, 15:52 GMT

    I believe if the selectors really wanted Clark in the side, they would've chosen him for the 3rd test, but at the moment he seems out of favour with them and preferred Siddle. I don't think that'll change for this test and it seems that only Lee can really sway their minds enough for them to make some changes. I personally believe that they should go with Lee if he's ready. He would give this weak ataack the boost it needs as well as a little bit of reputation/experience, something they've sorely missed with Johnson and Siddle not living up to the hype.

  • mahne on August 5, 2009, 19:24 GMT

    I think that Australia should choice start Clark as he done great in the match against Northamptonshire and is one of australia's most experienced player at the moment.

  • Uranium on August 5, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    The inside talk is that Clark has been down on speed compared to before the injury. Apparently he's been stuggling for pace in the nets. Despite that, he's probably still worth of shot, line and length is more important than a quick bowler who sprays the ball around. I would drop Siddle for next test, even though he will be a quality bowler for the future. The selectors shouldn't have dropped Hughes but they probably can't bring him back now because they may have ruined confidence and Watson looked OK with two 50's last test. The selectors and Ponting aren't making as many mistakes as 2005 but its still a pretty shocking decision making exhibition from them.

  • Big_Oz on August 5, 2009, 21:41 GMT

    Johnson has shown signs of improvement and I think he will be spared the selector's axe for Headingley. Despite Lee's assurances that he is 100% fit I can't see the gamble being taken on him without the chance to put him in match conditions. Clark is the only option and Siddle is the one who's position is under most threat. The Poms have been able to score freely and someone like Clark should be able to reduce their scoring opportunties and help create pressure. That pressure will lead to more wickets. How often did we see McGrath keep it tight at one end only for the bowler at the other end to benefit when the batsmen tried to create scoring opportunities? More of the same please! And that means selecting Clark.

  • JasonS on August 5, 2009, 21:50 GMT

    I will be ringing up Cricket Australia today, Clark should have played at Lords and at Edgbaton. Clark is a Simular to Glen MCGrath with the line and length they both bowl. Also the Australian selector have been terrible so far and I will suggest they should be sack at the end of this current Ashes series.

  • Rusty_1 on August 5, 2009, 22:57 GMT

    I am sure I will be in the minority here, but I believe that both Lee & Clark need to be played in the 4th test. Siddle & Hauritz need to make way. The only way Australia can win is to put in a dominant bowling effort. Our best bowlers are all pace bowlers, so it fits that we should field an all pace attack. I hear the chorus singing about Lee being untested after coming back after a lay off. I believe if he & Johnson are used in short, aggressive 3-4 over burst at a time with Hilfy & Clark offering control & longer pressure building spells from the other end, we should be able to control the runs & take the 20 wickets required. It is also a good varied pace attack - Lee finally seems to know where to put the ball consistently & has proven he can reverse the ball at extreme pace, Johnson offering aggression, heavy ball bounce & pace, hilfy offering control & swing & Clark offering control, awkward bounce & seam movement.