Sri Lanka v Australia, 4th ODI, Colombo August 20, 2011

CA decisions a minor distraction, says Clarke

ESPNcricinfo staff

Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, has admitted the Argus review and the decisions taken by Cricket Australia on Friday were a minor distraction in the lead-up to the fourth ODI but praised his side for displaying excellent character in difficult conditions to take the series against Sri Lanka. The removal of Andrew Hilditch as chief selector was one of the significant decisions taken on Friday, but Clarke said his team-members made a pact they weren't going to talk about it going into the match.

"No doubt it [the events on Friday] is some sort of a distraction but you face distractions everyday in your life; with what's happening with your family, some of them have kids," Clarke said after Australia beat Sri Lanka by five wickets to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series. "There are always issues outside of the game that you face as a distraction. It's up to us to determine how big a distraction it becomes. We left our meeting the other day and made a pact that we weren't going to talk about it. We had an optional training session yesterday that every single player turned up for."

It looked like being a comfortable win for Australia after they bowled out Sri Lanka for 132, but Clarke said it took quite an effort to overcome the heat and was full of praise for his bowlers. "The character the boys showed in conditions that were as hot as I've experienced in any ODI around the world and to put in that kind of performance with the ball [was great].

"We didn't get wickets at the start of their innings but we bowled with really good discipline and in good areas. The wicket was a little bit two-paced and I thought our patience was the key with the ball today. It's been a key to our success over here; we've got Sri Lanka out on three occasions."

Australia lost five wickets in the chase, including three in an over towards the end of the game, and Clarke singled out Shaun Marsh's fluent 70 as the decisive contribution. "We knew the new ball would skid off the pitch and that with the old ball, they would get some reverse-swing and a bit of spin as well. Shaun Marsh played outstandingly and chased those runs down on his own in those conditions."

The star for Australia in their bowling was left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty, who bagged four wickets and was named Man of the Match. "After not taking as many wickets as I would have liked earlier on in the series, it was good to get some today," Doherty said.

"X is a very hard marker on himself and he's done a magnificent job for us," Clarke said. "Part of our success here has been the partnerships from the bowlers. Sometimes you bowl beautifully and get no wickets, but your mate at the other end does. On a couple of occasions this series, that's what has happened to X.

"If he keeps bowling the way he's bowling, I see no reason why he can't play Test cricket for Australia."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on August 21, 2011, 23:56 GMT

    @popcorn - I think Doherty has shown promise for a while - just NOT as a test player. I think he would of done a lot better than Krezja in the W/C. I hope that the selectors don't try him in tests for a long while yet. He is still young & could develop into a class FC/Test spinner 5 yrs from now & still only be in his early 30s! @Ramanjam Sridhar - D Hussey is a more effective spinner than he seems. He has an excellant S/R as a bowler because batsmen don't rate him - he was striking in the mid 20s this year!

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    Sri Lanka were pathetic and the margin of defeat is flattering . Australia needlessly lost the Hussey brothers towards the end. In any case I think David Hussey is vastly overrated and must give way for Ferguson . His bowling is very ordinary. I am glad Smith was not chosen. He has been given enough chances . Marsh is easily one of the best players in Australia and he has done briliantly in the sub continent and just hope he remains fit. I think Australia has adopted extremely well to the conditions and Clarke has really led well. Clearly on the basis of current evidence , he is much better than Ponting as captain at least. I think Australia will not be a push over in the tests and I think the old Australian pride is on evidence. If the pitches are not raging turners Sri Lanka will struggle to beat Australia. I think Bollinger should play the tests. He is bowling well and with lots of energy . It is important to play the players who are in form and he certainly is in form. sridhar

  • Rajaram on August 21, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    At last! A spinner Xavier Doherty,who shows promise! I hope he is given a LONG run.

  • Felix on August 21, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Now Anjelo M can not bowl, and Chandimal is out, can't understand why Chamara S was sent at 5 instead of Mathews. Let give a fair chance to Mathews. Who knows, he may have rebuilt the innings from where Sanga finished.. Give the confidence to your best players for the future instead of shattereing it. if not why sometimes he had to go at 7 & 8 ? Hope seniors like mahela and sang a can raise their voices to protect players like mathews and chandimal...good luck sir lank and dilshan...

  • Bryn on August 21, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    well done lads. wrap it up tomorrow and then its time to get back in a winning habit in test matches!! David47 - who is the once in a series bowler and who are the brothers?

  • chandana on August 21, 2011, 6:00 GMT

    Guess he was referring to "SELECTOR ON TOUR - CHAPPELL!" Any fair minded person would have dropped Steve Smith last tour; it was obvious Chappell was keen to keep SS going. Finally the obvious change (Marsh opening - Haddin at 7 - Smith out) done and it worked. Said this before; Clark was forced to play Smith! becoz it was an obvious fact from the amount of bowling SS did and particularly when he came into the attack after Hussy as 7th bowler. On the field Chappell was not able to enforce his mad decisions but at least in selecting SS he was trying to play the same game he did in India (Dropping Ganguly, rift with SRT, etc). OZ team from now on will be better as Clark will have more say in selection decisions. Wont be surprised if Bollinger stays for tests, given his performance so far. C'mon Sri Lanka, u seriously need T20 amnesia. Still how can we blame players when SLC conducted a T20 tournament just before this series. Asian madness at its best in SLC, BCCI, PCB LMAO :) cheers

  • Andrew on August 21, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    Good job Oz! The margin (5 wickets) flattered SL. The batting by SL was abysmal, I had a feeling that Tharanga's 100 the match before was a bit streaky, & it hid an out of form line up. Wrapping it up in 5 matches is a big boost. Have to say Doherty has bowled brilliantly in 3 out of 4 games, the match we lost he bowled well with no luck. Interestingly - I'm pretty sure that Doherty has removed Sanga 3 times in the 5 occasions he has bowled to him. That is impressive.

  • Rohanj on August 21, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    Whats to be distracted about?! Great win Australia. What we're seeing is how overrated the Sri Lankan team have been for a little while. They have 3 good batsmen, very very good in fact, but no bowlers of any significance for the test series. Murali is gone, Malinga retired from test cricket and their very average spinners only have a home ground advantage going for them. Australia also have three very good batsmen and maybe Hussey still also. Our spinners are also terribly average and Johnson is inconsistent but has a much better record than any Sri Lankan paceman. On paper the two sides are fairly even, but one wouldn't think so if you believed all the noise coming out the subcontinent! Can't wait for the tests, should be an absorbing contest. BTW really enjoying watching India being humiliated in England-hi to all the Indian fans out there, hahahahaha!!!

  • mritunjai on August 21, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    Totally agree with you David47, its always refreshing to see the energy whenever Australia play. I am an Indian and I always wanted India to play like Australia, but i know that is impossible. So I have been supporting Australia for last decade or so. I was the saddest person in India when India defeated Australia in world Cup. The energy of Brett Lee and Ricky Ponting, that day, was amazing. People said that if McGrath and Warne were there, Australia would have won that match. I told them, forget Warne and Mcgrath, if Bracken and Hogg were there Australia would have rolled over India. For me, Cricket is Australia.

  • far on August 21, 2011, 2:18 GMT

    "CA decisions a minor distraction, says Clarke" sound like m clacke may have had some thing to hide

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