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."