Pakistan v Australia, 2nd ODI, Abu Dhabi August 30, 2012

Need to play spinners better - Clarke

ESPNcricinfo staff

Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, has said that his team needs to get better at playing spin and although the conditions pose a challenge, he expects his top order batsmen to come good in the series, ahead of the second ODI in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

"I guess playing spin bowling is an area that we'd want to continue to improve as a batting group," Clarke said. "It's something that we're focused on, it's an area we need to continue to get better at."

Australia lost all six wickets to spinners during their chase, as they limped to their target of 199 in the 49th over, in the first ODI on Tuesday.

Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez shared five wickets between them and strangled the scoring, going for 30 and 29 runs respectively in their ten overs as Australia hobbled to the target in 48.2 overs. Australia were in trouble when they lost their fourth wicket on 67 in the 18th over. However, crucial half-centuries by Clarke and George Bailey helped them secure a win.

"We were under pressure at different stages throughout that game, our batting could improve in areas from the other night, I'd love to see somebody in our top four go and make a hundred."

Clarke said that the hot conditions and the slowness of the pitch hinder free scoring and the batsmen need to show more patience.

"I've got two starts, two fifties (75 and 66), and I haven't been able to go on, heat is certainly a factor, [but] more than that it's the conditions," Clarke said. "It's the slowness of the pitch, slowness of the outfield in Sharjah.

"Due to the conditions, and also good opposition spinners, it's hard to hit boundaries with five fielders out [in the middle overs]. So you've got to bat for a long period of time."

Clarke, however, was all praise for Australia's bowlers, who put the reins on Pakistan's innings by taking the last six wickets for 38 runs to keep the target under 200. "I thought our bowlers did a great job against Pakistan. It was really nice to get off to a winning start."

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  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    @Meety : Btw I read an article that mentioned Ajmal's "angles" (frankly the whole thing confuses me) and interestingly, his DOOSRA is more legit than his offspinner. Both measurements were within the ICC legal range, but the doosra's angle was lower than that of his offspinner.

  • Geoffrey on August 31, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    @thebrotherswaugh- mate I wouldn't be surprised if we agreed on a lot of things, we are from the same country. I currently work only the next suburb away from where Mark & Steve grew up.

  • Andrew on August 31, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    @ WickyRoy.paklover - what is it with you & critiques of Paki players??? The FACT is Ajmal in his FEW appearances in Oz has not done well, he has not played a Test against India, so there are a few things he will need to address. ATM - he is the best spinner in the world, but to be thought of as better than good, he'll need to prove himself in places other than Bangladesh or UAE on a REGULAR basis. @thebrotherswaugh - Ajmal's action is a lot more legal than it looks, not 100% sure about the Doosra he bowls, but whilst he bowls with a BENT arm, it does not straighten. To the naked eye, I'd say he was more legitimate than Murali, who's arm seemed to bend everywhere. But, yes they have adjusted the rules, & left some umpires out to dry, so there does appear to be looseness over techniques atm. There was an interesting article on this site which suggests that testing DURING a match may become viable SOON!

  • atul on August 31, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    Any leg spinner in the class of ABDUL QADIR

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    @WickyRoy.paklover : That comment doesnt do our country proud. Why should we prepare rank turners if teams start touring us? For one thing our wickets never were rank turners, either totally flat, or maybe some help for pace in Rawalpindi. Our bowlers are so great because they have excelled on the same tracks that the likes of Dennis Lillee considered graveyards of bowlers. However, time has proven that Australian pace attacks fare much better in alien conditions than other non-Pakistanis. One excellent example is the previous game. It was their pacers who did us so much harm. You should give credit where credit is due.

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    @thebrotherswaugh: All true but I don't see how that refutes my point that bowlers, esp pacers, CAN do very well inexperienced whereas batsmen in general cannot. Far as I see, apart from Tendulkar, it is mostly bowlers who make a big name for themselves at a young age.

  • Wicky on August 31, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    @dsig3,well well well,i guess its vry relative term,had glen mcgrath been playng in pak,he would have stpd crickt n turn to othr worthwhile wrk in his life,richard hadlee would have strugld to get 200 wickts,lili n thomson might had been playng soccer in uk aftr getng fade up of these "grave yards" 4 pacers like turfs in pak ,.... U people talk so high big about ur stars delibrtly ignorng d fact that they playd more than 80% of their games on bouncy,pacy,n most of time,fast bowlng frindly wickts,so whats big thing about this?,most of these bowlrs dn't have great recrd in pak n subcntinent,i request pcb to prepare square turners then i can't see aus,poms,nz,wi scorng 150 against dis pak atack.

  • django on August 31, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    We often struggle against spin in the initial games. Hopefully the guys will get a bit better. They are really making it look hard. Hussey played all around a straight one. I dont believe ajmal actually turns alot of deliveries but they tend to hold up alot, especially on these wickets. He is a good bowler, but if you watched him on unhelpful wickets you would think he was a club cricketer. If Ajmal was playing in Aus it would be a different story as we have seen in the past.

  • MOHAMMED on August 31, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    Clarke has impressive record against Pakistan, and he will definetly score big today. Aus will this match easily.

  • John on August 31, 2012, 1:35 GMT

    @Hammond, holy #@#@, we actually agree on something; they changed the laws, made accomodations for a certain player, and now we're reaping the rewards of that madness. Can't do nuthin about it now, though, they've already opened that particular Pandora's Box. @Aina Maria Waseem, there's only one way to get test match experience, and that's by playing them. At the end of the day, the quality and mental strength of the player has always dictated whether they succeed as a long-term player or not, it's got nothing to do with age or a perceived lack of experience. @g.narsimha, sounds like sour grapes to me. Your fellas were beaten by the better side on the day - we'll see what happens in the next game. The next WC is in 2015, so all of these tournaments are basically training runs for that contest. I want OZ peaking in 2015, until then, I really don't care that much, as long as we're competitive (no more 4 nil floggings).

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