Australia v England, 6th ODI, Sydney

Big chases prepare us for the World Cup - Clarke

Andrew McGlashan at the SCG

February 2, 2011

Comments: 48 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke raises his bat during his match-turning half-century, Australia v England, 6th ODI, Sydney, February 2, 2011
Michael Clarke's second fifty in as many games helped set up Australia's successful run-chase © Getty Images

Michael Clarke believes Australia's record run chase against England was the perfect preparation for the World Cup where large totals are going to dominate the tournament. Clarke hit 82 off 70 balls as Australia reached 334 with four balls to spare in their penultimate match before leaving for the subcontinent.

"The boys are stoked. It's a huge win for us and again we can take a lot of confidence from that run chase going into the World Cup," Clarke said. "I think there's going to be some pretty big scores in the World Cup on pretty flat wickets similar to that. I think you're going to have to get used to chasing some big totals. It's great practice for us."

To make Clarke's night even sweeter his decision to promote Mitchell Johnson to No. 4 paid off as he hit 57 to keep up Australia's early momentum after a rapid opening stand. It was Johnson's second fifty in ODI cricket although Clarke admitted he hadn't quite followed his instructions to the letter.

"He was the only left-hander in our side today and I was confident that if Mitch miss hits the ball he could still get a couple over the rope," he said. "It was more a game situation, we were chasing a big total, we had to gamble and fortunately it paid off.

"If the ball was in his zone batting from the bottom end towards the short boundary I told him to back himself. Mitch thought he'd go the other way and hit towards the long boundary but he cleared the ropes. He played a really good innings through the Powerplay then rotated the strike really well in the middle when they had five fielders out."

Clarke also hinted that it may be a tactic Australia employ in the future with Johnson's ability to attack the spinners an eye-catching prospect on the subcontinent where slow bowlers are expected to play a key role.

"It shows if you give guys an opportunity they grab it with both hands. I think Mitch, throughout the World Cup, is going to play a big part not just with the ball but also the bat, being a left-hander, hitting the ball as well as he does and playing spin pretty well."

Life is suddenly looking much rosier for Clarke after back-to-back half-centuries in Brisbane and Sydney plus Australia being 5-1 up under his leadership. He also left the field to a standing ovation today as his home crowd warmed to his efforts after a difficult season. Clarke has never wavered in his belief that hard work and commitment would eventually bring results and is starting to feel vindicated.

"I've not changed my game, I've not changed my training, I feel like I've worked my absolute backside off the whole summer," he said. "It's just nice to get some runs in the last game and contribute again tonight. It's a nice feeling.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (February 3, 2011, 23:44 GMT)

RAAJ101. not just odi series, the last icc champios trophy that was played in india. that goes with every team. i hope you not thinking your team whoever that is will just stroll through

Posted by brisCricFan on (February 3, 2011, 23:07 GMT)

LOL @ RAAJ101 - I think you don't really need to tell AUS about how the World Cup is different... just look at the last decade... One loss can knock you out?? AUS haven't lost a single match in WC since 1999... ... ... how did you guys fare over that period?? ... ... ... I will say again as I have said all along, AUS are entering as favourites mostly on the back of years of WC dominance and the punters know that AUS have a tendency to step up in the big matches when others crumble. BUT on paper, I think India, South Africa and England are a match to the current Australian side... Sri Lanka are a threat if they can click and keep it together. ... ... ... It will come down to which side is the toughest mentally and history is on the side of the AUS team at the moment. I am predicting some very close semi finals ... ... ... and the closest WC EVENT (as a whole) that there has been in over a decade.

Posted by RAAJ101 on (February 3, 2011, 17:10 GMT)


Posted by   on (February 3, 2011, 10:10 GMT)

england will make the quarter and that's it. india, south africa and the west indies won't be push overs

Posted by popcorn on (February 3, 2011, 9:53 GMT)

Australia are the clear favourites for the ODI World Cup.Masters of the game,Australia have the World Cup 4 times - 1987 as UNDERDOGS IN INDIA,please note - and thrice in succession - 1999,2003,2007.Runners -up in 1996.They are also the 50 over format Champions Trophy winners twice in succession - in INDIA in 2007 and 2009.

Posted by Mitcher on (February 3, 2011, 7:18 GMT)

Funny to hear all the chest beating from Indian fans warning how we need to beware. The format for this WC has been altered to ensure all the top teams make knockout stages after India (and Pakistan's) abject and utterly hilarious failure at the previous edition. And lets go back a further four years to 2003 and the way Australia HUMILIATED India in the final. And 1999? Oh yeah, we won that won too. I'll take track record over empty talk any day of the week.

Posted by Meety on (February 3, 2011, 6:54 GMT)

@SRT_GENIUS - LOL re: Jinx, you could be right! @Cpt.Meanster - usual tripe from you re: "don't deserve" there is an old saying in sport, to be a champion you have to beat a champion. Oz are 3-time defending CHAMPIONS of the World, if they don't deserve to be in the Semi's NOBODY does! @sawifan - I agree. @gilly007 - good point, I think Punter is actually a great ODI captain, it's just he is too defensive in Tests! @All re: Oz in India; The 2007 W/C was played in sub-continental conditions, Oz frontline spinner was Hogg, who whilst being a 2 time WC winning spinner is really only considered a Part Timer @ 1st Class level. It's not really about how classy tour spin line up is - it's how effective. I would say that often Sehwag is a better spinner than Harbhajan, but he is definately not better. Smith, D Hussey, Doherty/Hauritz/Krezja, Clarke & White may be able to get the job done a lot better than people think. The Poms think Yardy can - & he's not much chop!

Posted by gilly007 on (February 3, 2011, 6:45 GMT)

@maddy20 .. You could me right mate.... India might get knocked out before they reach the Aussies..... As far as ODIs are concerned, Aus are the best in the world. Far ahead of the others. South africa come next, but they, unlike australia struggle in the subcontinent..... For all those saying that Aussies struggle in subcontinent and india are gonna wn, let me just ask you. When was the last time India won a trophy of repute ??? or even reached th final for that matter. The 2007 T20 win was proved to be a fluke by the subsequent edition results. The same thing will happen all over again. Effigies being burnt. Houses stoned. Then sachin will score a century and everything will be forgotten.

Posted by Muyeen on (February 3, 2011, 6:45 GMT)

As an Indian I am scared with Australia chasing big. Australia was never out of contention because its their test team which is struggling n not ODI and also making a comeback in ODI is much easier than in test even though i do not agree that Australia was making one. I believe after 1999 world cup, Australia was the only favorite team to win the cup in 03 and 07 and manta was whoever can beat Australia in the finals will win the cup but neither srilanka nor India could. but this round Australia is just one of the favorites like they were in 1999. I do not want Australia to win but that doesnt mean they are not favorites.

Posted by gilly007 on (February 3, 2011, 6:28 GMT)

Seems like Australia are again the favourites for the WC. And all the talk of this Aussie Team being weak will disappear. Atleast for another two years. But Aussies will continue being in a league of their own.... Sad thing is, even if the Aussies win this WC ( in the sub continent ) people still wont accept that he is one of the best captains of all time. Come on Ricky ! You have the chance to become the only Cricketer to win 4 World cups ( three as Captain )

Posted by maddy20 on (February 3, 2011, 5:45 GMT)

@Dsig3 "As long as India fails again (Hopefully at aussie hands) I will be a happy man" Dream on mate!

Posted by Taranis on (February 3, 2011, 5:10 GMT)

Australia is the world's No 1 team in ODIs, and looking at the teams, the Aussies will emerge as the world champions, again. Though Southafrica and England, in their respective forms have a very good chance of reaching the final. But Aussies are the WINNERS. Go Punter and Aussies.

Posted by Raineman on (February 3, 2011, 3:57 GMT)

I think it's funny all the comments from those with sub-continent backgrounds claiming that Australia struggle on the sub-continent. Recent results of Australia's tours there tell a very different story; Australia have won their last 5 ODI series against India: 2009 (4-2), 2007 (5-2), 2006 (1-0), 2003 (3-1), 2001 (3-2). Australia against Sri Lanka: 2004 (3-2), 2001 (0-1), 1999 (2-1) An Overall Result of 21 wins to 13 losses doesn't exactly sound like a struggle to me.

Posted by dsig3 on (February 3, 2011, 3:00 GMT)

Who are favourites for the world cup these days? Sri Lanka has always been beaten by Australia. India have patchy form after just losing a series. Pakistan might win a game or two but its a stretch for them to win a world cup. Australia are reigning champions coming off a great home ODI series. South Africa are the up and comers who I think will end up winning it. As long as India fails again (Hopefully at aussie hands) I will be a happy man.

Posted by   on (February 3, 2011, 2:50 GMT)

clarke was brilliant last night. australia don't have barms about playing in the sub continent. they have won many odi series there in the last 5 years. sri lanka will be the team that might stop them. india, have to get past a few good teams

Posted by balajik1968 on (February 3, 2011, 2:38 GMT)

Clarke's captaincy is like a breath of fresh air. Somehow Ponting seemed to be relying too much on set-pieces. There was no out of the box thinking. Clarke's promotion of Johnson was a risk which paid off. It may not always. But still it showed a man willing to experiment. As for all those who go about saying that England were a disinterested team, inability to defend 333 is not on. Full attack or not 333 is a winning total. Congrats Australia you are very much in the reckoning for the World Cup. Probable World Cup winners one of India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, England, Australia and the joker in the pack, Pakistan.

Posted by brisCricFan on (February 3, 2011, 2:31 GMT)

I think the spin thing has spun out of context... Clarke was mentioning that M Johnson is a good player of spin and not commenting on his own ability - of which he is widely considered around the globe of one of the finest (albeit his dismissals to spin in the recent ashes made that a somewhat dubious claim). In regards the story, that M Johnson may get a push up the order to take advantage of slow bowling in powerplay situations seems likely after this experiment... will it always be successful - look how he was dismissed; probably not... will it be entertaining - I think so. ... ... For those that listen to the TV commentary, one Mr Greig has been saying for weeks now that he would have liked to see MJ come in up the order to push the run rate up a bit - the logic being if he gets a duck it is usually only 1 ball wasted... and whilst I am not normally in agreement with anything he might say, I have agreed with that one. Good ploy - expertly executed.

Posted by sawifan on (February 3, 2011, 1:09 GMT)

@HatsforBats.. i couldn't agree more. This is test cricket, where Australia struggle in India, it's the ODI World Cup... we have a pretty good record in the sub-continent in ODI's and not too mention a very similar side to this won the last Champions Trophy (yes i know conditions are different, but world-class players adapt!). I think the 'dark horses' for the trophy are Pakistan. Very strong lower order and tail in the batting department and great variety with the ball. Afridi and Razzaq could cause some havoc on those flat pitches. I'm also tipping Bangladesh to have a big tournament. They won't win, but may pull off a surprise semi- appearance if their stars can fire. Still, tipping an Australia v Pakistan final...

Posted by xylo on (February 3, 2011, 0:58 GMT)

Mitchell Johnson might be able to smack spinners around in the sub-continent, but my guess is that he will make up for it with his generous bowling. On an unrelated note, it is indeed surprising that he is the only left-hander in their side. Would be interesting to see which teams have more left-hand batsmen.

Posted by CSpiers on (February 3, 2011, 0:49 GMT)

pakistan a mighty team? yeah right... the world cup will be between Sri lanka, South Africa, India and Australia. To close to call a winner. People seem to forget Australia are far and away the most successful one day team of the last decade

Posted by SRT_GENIUS on (February 3, 2011, 0:37 GMT)

Please stop saying India are favs.. you'll jinx it.

Posted by HatsforBats on (February 3, 2011, 0:24 GMT)

A few people suggesting Aus will struggle in the sub-continent on slow turning tracks against spinners etc. They forget that of the last 3 odi series in India, Aus have won 2 of them (4-2)? They have also won the Champions Trophy in India. Tests in India are hard for Aus, but odis are a different beast and Aus are still ranked no.1.

Posted by HatsforBats on (February 3, 2011, 0:20 GMT)

@ Zain Ashik: To say Aus don't perform on the big occassions or play well under pressure is hilarious! You don't win 3 consecutive world cups, 2 consecutive champions trophies, or stay the top ranked test team for 15 years without handling the big occassions. And Johnson has scored a century in a test and has 5-fors in tests and odis, if he's not an all rounder, he's doing just fine.

Posted by vish1036 on (February 3, 2011, 0:13 GMT)

i could be wrong but didnt Anderson have a 2 week holiday...and Finn had the first 4 odi's off?...so im pretty sure they arent tired...never the less 10 overs for 91 is hilarious....

Posted by ice6430 on (February 2, 2011, 23:45 GMT)

india is not going yo win , its pakistans world cup.

Posted by Rooboy on (February 2, 2011, 23:03 GMT)

*lol* a lot of people not happy about Aus playing well! Gotta laugh at a lot of statements made here. I don't think this series means a whole lot with regard to the upcoming WC, England don't seem that interested, but as Clarke says, a run chase like that can't hurt and a win is a lot better than a loss in any conditions. I'm sure if Aus were knocked over for 200 the same people would be be saying it does means a lot all of a sudden. @skuller - where did Clarke say he thinks he's a good player of spin because he played Yardy and KP well?! As Meety rightly points out, Clarke's abilities against spin were evident well before last night's knock. *lol* @Cpt.Meanster - Australia don't 'deserve' to make the semi finals?! Who are you to decide what any team 'deserves' or not?! The teams that win the most games will deserve to be there and unfortunately for you, one of those teams is most likely going to be Australia. But I'm sure you'll find a way to downplay that if they make it ...

Posted by RAAJ101 on (February 2, 2011, 22:37 GMT)


Posted by Scgboy on (February 2, 2011, 22:02 GMT)

@tim72 sir, well said . I believe that if nothing else , it was a huge confidence booster and that cant hurt going into a WC. plus ,I hate to burst a lot of peoples balloons , India isn't the unknown quantity it was once was.Thanks to IPl , many more ' foreign' 'players are experienced in those conditions , the home advantage isn't as great as it once was. Plus we dont have the expectations of a billion people breathing down our backs

Posted by JB77 on (February 2, 2011, 21:52 GMT)

@ Cpt.Meanster - No Colligwood, KP and Yardy aren't world class....but didn't England also have Anderson in the last ODI? And Finn? Y'know those two guys who won you the Ashes? Plus all your top batsman. As an English fan I'm sure having a short memory is a blessing, but you're grasping at straws here my friend.

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (February 2, 2011, 21:27 GMT)

fantastic captaincy to send mitch in early ... clarke is coming into his own

Posted by tim72 on (February 2, 2011, 21:13 GMT)

interesting to read the usual nay-sayers here. Facts are this:- no disputing it- Australia chased down 333 against a pretty decent side. M Clarke used all of his humility, maturity beyond his years, determination and captaining nous to champion the australian side and force the supporters who thought that he was done- to think again and take a look at what are no doubt, the characteristics of a captain. i admit i am one of those who thought he was done. His raising of the bat at his 50 to the crowd to acknowledge the respectful ovation he got was impressive, as too was his acknowledgment as he walked off. as a critic, i couldnt fault him.

Posted by Meety on (February 2, 2011, 20:39 GMT)

@Melbin Moses - agreed Ferguson looked the goods, & I put him well ahead of Marsh. @skuller- fact he wouldn't Rate Yardy & KP as the pinnacle of his batsmanship, he has torn many a frontline spinner a new A-hole in his career & will hurt many spinners in this W/C Indian or not! @Darnakka - I'm afraid you may not like the outcome of this W/Cup!

Posted by RAGRAND on (February 2, 2011, 19:59 GMT)

India is going to lose this world cup for sure!

Posted by SRT_GENIUS on (February 2, 2011, 19:27 GMT)

@shrastogi: "See India they have picked four pacers only if two of them break down just before a match India would be forced to play only two fast bowlers. Not sound idea."

I don't think you thought it through.. India has (arguably) picked the top 4 fast bowlers. By your logic if no1 & no2 break down India would be forced to play with no3 and no4. This would continue to be the case even if India picked it's (top) 5 bowlers as India is going to play with 2 spinners in most matches. You'll have to injure 3 bowlers in your hypothesis to make it work.

And if Indian contingent is plagued by injuries, Sachin can always bowl.

Posted by StarveTheLizard on (February 2, 2011, 18:49 GMT)

Clarke is the kind of guy the Aussies need as captain. He is batting his way out of a form slump and has proven to be a capable captain. In the meantime, he has been treated unfairly by a large portion of the population. He continues to be a class act.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 2, 2011, 18:17 GMT)

If any of you use your common sense even a bit then you would realize that the Aussies won by batting against a mediocre bowling from England. A bowling attack comprising KP, Yardy, and Colly is not world class by any means. So I ask the Aussie supporters to not get carried away. Besides, the SCG pitch was a flat highway. Anyone could have got runs there. The Aussies will face a tough test in the sub-continent. They simply don't have quality like their predecessors. They have some makeshift 20-20 players who pretend to be world class players. Victory against a tired England team is nothing to boast about. I don't even see Australia making the semi-finals of the world cup. They don't deserve anything more than that. India are favorites to become champion followed closely by Sri Lanka.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2011, 17:27 GMT)

Aussies win prior to world cup means nothing because you need to play well on big ocassion which they lack. During this match they're not under any pressure b'cause they already won this series. Johnson playing one or two matches not necessarily indicates him to be a good all rounder. Let him excel and prove his worth in the W.C. Clark is probably excited and deceived by his team performance in his home ground The conditions are quite different in the W.C. A team without the likes of M.Grath will certainly struggle and I strongly believe Aussies will not qualify for even the semi-finals.

Aussies win in their home land and India's losing in the S.A. series will have no impact in the W.C. It's all together a different game gentlemen.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2011, 16:42 GMT)

Clarke needs to watch footage of his batting in the last world cup in the carribean. His innings in the group stage match against South Africa shows the potential he has for attacking batting ( he was easily outscoring ricky ponting in that innings). There were a few reminders of that in Sydney and he played a lot more fluently. He just needs to stop this random phase of blocking hes got into in the last couple of years...

Posted by Nipun on (February 2, 2011, 16:30 GMT)

Clarke looked in real good touch today.

Posted by shrastogi on (February 2, 2011, 16:02 GMT)

Clarke gambled well on Mitchell Johnson. With him not being in great form some quick runs would have eased pressure in long run chase. Another bold move would have been to be prepred to promote two bowlers up if they are capable of batting as well as Mitchell Johnson does. Even without Ponting Aussies are showing good potential and Engalnd would have come back to earth after ashes win. I dont if it is too good an idea to be playing so close to an important tournament like world cup from the injury scare point of view. See India they have picked four pacers only if two of them break down just before a match India would be forced to play only two fast bowlers. Not sound idea.

Posted by skuller on (February 2, 2011, 15:59 GMT)

If Clarke thinks that playing Yardy and Kevin makes him a good player of spin then he better resign the captaincy......thats not even close to club class spin bowling :)

Posted by K-amps on (February 2, 2011, 15:48 GMT)

Never write the aussies off... so they had a low in the months past... they can still beat any team in the world out there on their day...

Posted by Varsan on (February 2, 2011, 14:42 GMT)

A good move to get johnson up to bat at 3 or 4. Reminds me of indias tactic to get Irfan pathan to bat at that number. Ended up hampering his bowling a lot. Let johnson be the strike bowler that he is or else he would become another pathan. Once a while is fine with the license to hammer, but if you ask johnson to concnetrate on his batting , the novelty of the move is gone and you take focus of his bowling which needs more potency. I smell a greg chappel here or is it just me?

Posted by Darnakka on (February 2, 2011, 14:35 GMT)

It just scares me when Aussies start their dominance again. I dont want them to win another WC.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2011, 13:55 GMT)

great going aussies under Pups cap..i luv to see Fergusion at No.3 for the world cup since punter isnt fit & badly out of form for months...Marsh is good @ below the order than facing new ball...only missing in the squa is Dan Christian...selectors should hav a look @ him atleast after WC

Posted by   on (February 2, 2011, 13:55 GMT)

I am sure Australia is going to struggle in the subcontinent pitches against the spin attack ..

Posted by Cricket.Nellore on (February 2, 2011, 13:53 GMT)

Though England won the Ashes, they are absolutely milking Aussies for good world cup preparation. Fantastic Chase by Australia. They are dangerous and may hold the WC again.

Posted by boris6491 on (February 2, 2011, 13:43 GMT)

This was an awesome victory for Australia and has really renewed my belief in the potential of this batting line up. Although this is only one innings and he has a long way to go to prove himself, I have to say hats off to Clarke. I have been his biggest critic this season and the criticism directed at him has been deserved considering his poor performance throughout the summer. I have constantly berated the selection committee for having him in the team. After each game I have put forward the same question, when was the last time he truly played a match winning impactful role in an ODI and it is only fair to say that today was that day. He scored at a good rate and paced himself well. Promoting Johnson was also a real brainwave on his part. The fact that it worked made it even better but I think it was still a much more efficient use of Johnson as a resource considering the fact that he is wasted down the order where he never really gets going. Hope this form continues into the WC.

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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