The Ashes 2013-14 December 19, 2013

Watson batting for the team - Clarke

31

Still a little croaky from Ashes celebrations in Perth, Australia's captain Michael Clarke epitomised the new unity that characterised the team's rapid advance to a 3-0 margin over England by expressing his satisfaction about Shane Watson's team-oriented century in the third innings at the WACA ground.

While it was no surprise to hear Clarke praise a teammate, his warm words for Watson shone brightly next to some of the other utterances that have accompanied the allrounder in recent years. It cannot be forgotten this was the same Watson who Pat Howard had said acted in the best interests of the team "sometimes", about whom Clarke had often reminded the world "we beat India 4-0 without Shane" and who had, according to Mickey Arthur's statement of claims lodged with Fair Work Australia in mid-year, been dubbed a "cancer" on the team by Clarke.

Those undercurrents seem well and truly forgotten now, as Clarke and his lieutenant Brad Haddin celebrated their Ashes success as fulsomely with Watson as anyone else. Of most import to Clarke was the fact that Watson's aggressive hundred, while setting England a target, demonstrated an interest in advancing the game over and above the preservation of his wicket - a strong example for younger players to follow.

"I think he played really well the other day," Clarke said. "It's obviously a tough position, there's no doubt about it, and he's scored two hundreds there now in his last few Test matches. Watto is hitting the ball as good as I've seen and wasn't too far away from big scores. So thankfully he walked out and played that way and showed great intent.

"What Watto did the other day was put the team first. He knew we were trying to score as many runs as we could before our declaration and he put the team first, which is a great example to the young players that that's what we're trying to do in our team and it's good to see."

The team-focused attitude Clarke spoke of has been wedded to a formidable support staff, not so vast in number as England but steeped in experience, skill and character. The coach Darren Lehmann and the pace bowling mentor Craig McDermott have each attracted many garlands, but Clarke also expressed great satisfaction with the work of the longtime team physio Alex Kountouris and the more recent addition of the well-travelled doctor Peter Brukner, who have each played a major role in allowing Australia to name an unchanged team throughout.

Kountouris has been instrumental in keeping Clarke fit over many years, overseeing a management program for the captain's degenerative back condition, an ailment that kept him out of one Test in India earlier this year and numerous ODI engagements but has been largely handled successfully. Among Brukner's chief achievements has been to help Watson recover more efficiently from the muscle strains that have hounded him, allowing him to play every one of the eight Ashes Test this year to date.

"It's all contributed, there's no doubt about it," Clarke said. "There's a lot of people who have played a part behind the scenes who don't receive too much credit, and bits and pieces of that all through Cricket Australia. So a lot of things have played a part in us performing the way we have and that's one of them.

"Without Alex's help, I wouldn't have played as many Tests as I have, so I try to thank him as much as I can. Lots of guys in the team that are exactly the same. Him and the doc Peter have done a fantastic job in looking after the current crop in making sure we're as fit as we can be leading up and getting through Test matches. There's two more Tests to go this summer so hopefully they can continue to do their good work."

Other members of the support staff to have contributed greatly include the batting coach Michael Di Venuto, the fielding coaches Steve Rixon and Mike Young, the strength and conditioning overseer Damian Mednis, plus the team psychologist Michael Lloyd and the manager Gavin Dovey.

Clarke, who was speaking at Sydney's Olympic Stadium to promote the Sydney Thunder ahead of the Big Bash League - though he has been ruled out of participating between Tests - did not have quite as much to say when asked of the former coach Arthur's role in guiding the team before Lehmann took over. Asked if he had been in touch, Clarke replied: "No, I haven't spoken to Mickey."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ScottStevo on December 21, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    @Thurston Torsten, I agree re Doolan. This season he had a real chance to knock doors down and is currently averaging 30 something. However, I completely disagree re Ferguson. He's been in great form after coming back from his lengthy injury which surely cost him a place within the test side. He averaged over 40 last season and when I last checked was averaging 75 this season. Add that to his excellent ODI career average of over 40 and I can't see how any other batsman in the country can be labelled next in line above this bloke. Names like Maddinson and Silk are also being thrown around a fair bit. Maddinson looks another aggressive player who will score big or 0 (we have Warner & Hughes already!) and Silk is still too green but if he can continue scoring right through the season, then we should get him in and around the set up.

  • on December 21, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    watson the most dangerous batsmen in austrealian team

  • Chris_P on December 20, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    Watching this team improve so much the past year, the biggest improvement, & by a fair margin too, is the standard of fielding. Mike Young & Steve Rixon really deserve plaudits for the way they have lifted standards.

  • on December 20, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    The shadow of Doolan rises again! It's really a shame that Shield cricket isn't televised, as you'll see that Doolan is an elegant batsman, and potentially great for the attention deficient. An elegant 29 or 17 isn't really what Australia needs. Nor a Ferguson despite his ability (same problem as Doolan). I'm not sure if there is a back story to Burns being dropped recently, but he is one to scrutinise. Same for Maddinson and Lynn. Sure, the call of Sean Marsh will be raised, unless you wish the best for Australian cricket. Phil Hughes is still the best performing younger batsman in Australia, and surely needs psychiatric help to overcome whatever issues he has. And, true, Watson hasn't played to his abilities whatsoever, but I can't think of anyone to replace him - a 35-averaging Shield player? I think not.

  • AlSmug on December 20, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    @meety , have you read pontings book? have you ever had a chat with shane ? its not a theory its the truth, clarke will be the first to stick his hand up and say he ws not a fan of shane , is now binding by a new regime thank goodness for that , hopefully he has grown as a human being , kat and roy wont e sending clarke xmas cards also that i can assure you

  • Meety on December 20, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul - I agree 100%. What I want to know though - is where all the conspiracy theories? You know the ones regular trolls put on here about Clarke & Watto hating each other, or Clarke caused this or that to happen. Sounds of Silence is magic to my ears! @xtrafalgarx/PrasPunter - people keep saying Watto @ #6, but whilst there is some sound theory behind it (i.e allrounders get time to rest after bowling before they bat etc), the reality is - Watto has been tried down the order, & was a complete failure. All Watto's test tons & the few near misses were as either an opener or #3. Which are also his best positions for ODIs. UNTIL he goes back to Shield cricket & scores a ton from #6, IMO he will always be a useless low order batsmen.

  • karan.kakkar22 on December 20, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    I think he has shown great intent to bat at the no 3 position of the test team. If u see his batting at perth u can easily sense that he has changed his batting technique a bit at the start of the innings by playing safe and positive frame of mind. Lot to see in the next 2 tests andon SA tour. May he will score a double ton or triple ton if he continues where he he left in Perth as Melbourne wicket might help him.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 20, 2013, 7:02 GMT

    @hmmmm: Oh please, the guy wasn't good enough to keep a place in the side in 3 tests, and at least Hughes came back and scored 3 big hundreds. Khawaja hasn't been able to do anthing in the shield and would be lucky to be averaging 30 in FC cricket this season! Watson is an allroudner and gets wickets, and a better bat than Khawaja.

  • AlSmug on December 20, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    Watson has always had the talent even early on as a qld fast medium bowler that batted a bit mind you back then he could not swing it 1 cm. He has developed into a terrific cricketer but unfortunately like so many others is not all that tight in the mind. His game has improved every time he has come back from injury working hard at his game. Those saying he doesn't wok hard and is not a team player is either Micheal Clarke when he had control of ca or a frustrated fan seeing a fella on the field that is somewhat robotic, the fact he wears a poker face and conserves his energy on the field is merely a product of Watson striving not to repeat his emotions he showed towards Gayle after he dismissed him in a test in oz were Watson wigged out a tad, congrats to watto to producing runs when it counts

  • AlSmug on December 20, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    Watson has always had the talent even early on as a qld fast medium bowler that batted a bit mind you back then he could not swing it 1 cm. He has developed into a terrific cricketer but unfortunately like so many others is not all that tight in the mind. His game has improved every time he has come back from injury working hard at his game. Those saying he doesn't wok hard and is not a team player is either Micheal Clarke when he had control of ca or a frustrated fan seeing a fella on the field that is somewhat robotic, the fact he wears a poker face and conserves his energy on the field is merely a product of Watson striving not to repeat his emotions he showed towards Gayle after he dismissed him in a test in oz were Watson wigged out a tad, congrats to watto to producing runs when it counts

  • ScottStevo on December 21, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    @Thurston Torsten, I agree re Doolan. This season he had a real chance to knock doors down and is currently averaging 30 something. However, I completely disagree re Ferguson. He's been in great form after coming back from his lengthy injury which surely cost him a place within the test side. He averaged over 40 last season and when I last checked was averaging 75 this season. Add that to his excellent ODI career average of over 40 and I can't see how any other batsman in the country can be labelled next in line above this bloke. Names like Maddinson and Silk are also being thrown around a fair bit. Maddinson looks another aggressive player who will score big or 0 (we have Warner & Hughes already!) and Silk is still too green but if he can continue scoring right through the season, then we should get him in and around the set up.

  • on December 21, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    watson the most dangerous batsmen in austrealian team

  • Chris_P on December 20, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    Watching this team improve so much the past year, the biggest improvement, & by a fair margin too, is the standard of fielding. Mike Young & Steve Rixon really deserve plaudits for the way they have lifted standards.

  • on December 20, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    The shadow of Doolan rises again! It's really a shame that Shield cricket isn't televised, as you'll see that Doolan is an elegant batsman, and potentially great for the attention deficient. An elegant 29 or 17 isn't really what Australia needs. Nor a Ferguson despite his ability (same problem as Doolan). I'm not sure if there is a back story to Burns being dropped recently, but he is one to scrutinise. Same for Maddinson and Lynn. Sure, the call of Sean Marsh will be raised, unless you wish the best for Australian cricket. Phil Hughes is still the best performing younger batsman in Australia, and surely needs psychiatric help to overcome whatever issues he has. And, true, Watson hasn't played to his abilities whatsoever, but I can't think of anyone to replace him - a 35-averaging Shield player? I think not.

  • AlSmug on December 20, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    @meety , have you read pontings book? have you ever had a chat with shane ? its not a theory its the truth, clarke will be the first to stick his hand up and say he ws not a fan of shane , is now binding by a new regime thank goodness for that , hopefully he has grown as a human being , kat and roy wont e sending clarke xmas cards also that i can assure you

  • Meety on December 20, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul - I agree 100%. What I want to know though - is where all the conspiracy theories? You know the ones regular trolls put on here about Clarke & Watto hating each other, or Clarke caused this or that to happen. Sounds of Silence is magic to my ears! @xtrafalgarx/PrasPunter - people keep saying Watto @ #6, but whilst there is some sound theory behind it (i.e allrounders get time to rest after bowling before they bat etc), the reality is - Watto has been tried down the order, & was a complete failure. All Watto's test tons & the few near misses were as either an opener or #3. Which are also his best positions for ODIs. UNTIL he goes back to Shield cricket & scores a ton from #6, IMO he will always be a useless low order batsmen.

  • karan.kakkar22 on December 20, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    I think he has shown great intent to bat at the no 3 position of the test team. If u see his batting at perth u can easily sense that he has changed his batting technique a bit at the start of the innings by playing safe and positive frame of mind. Lot to see in the next 2 tests andon SA tour. May he will score a double ton or triple ton if he continues where he he left in Perth as Melbourne wicket might help him.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 20, 2013, 7:02 GMT

    @hmmmm: Oh please, the guy wasn't good enough to keep a place in the side in 3 tests, and at least Hughes came back and scored 3 big hundreds. Khawaja hasn't been able to do anthing in the shield and would be lucky to be averaging 30 in FC cricket this season! Watson is an allroudner and gets wickets, and a better bat than Khawaja.

  • AlSmug on December 20, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    Watson has always had the talent even early on as a qld fast medium bowler that batted a bit mind you back then he could not swing it 1 cm. He has developed into a terrific cricketer but unfortunately like so many others is not all that tight in the mind. His game has improved every time he has come back from injury working hard at his game. Those saying he doesn't wok hard and is not a team player is either Micheal Clarke when he had control of ca or a frustrated fan seeing a fella on the field that is somewhat robotic, the fact he wears a poker face and conserves his energy on the field is merely a product of Watson striving not to repeat his emotions he showed towards Gayle after he dismissed him in a test in oz were Watson wigged out a tad, congrats to watto to producing runs when it counts

  • AlSmug on December 20, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    Watson has always had the talent even early on as a qld fast medium bowler that batted a bit mind you back then he could not swing it 1 cm. He has developed into a terrific cricketer but unfortunately like so many others is not all that tight in the mind. His game has improved every time he has come back from injury working hard at his game. Those saying he doesn't wok hard and is not a team player is either Micheal Clarke when he had control of ca or a frustrated fan seeing a fella on the field that is somewhat robotic, the fact he wears a poker face and conserves his energy on the field is merely a product of Watson striving not to repeat his emotions he showed towards Gayle after he dismissed him in a test in oz were Watson wigged out a tad, congrats to watto to producing runs when it counts

  • Shaggy076 on December 20, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    I really don't ser any need to change the team at the moment, they are working so well together. Ive seen other players mentioned here ie Doolan who really hasn't kicked on this year, Khawaja who seems to be in a bit of a slump and mmmm if he could role the arm over as good as Watto he would have probably been given the same chances. Dianne Skinner I agree with some of what you said ie its not the time to go back to him now but he mustsurely be head of the queue for the next position. I think the public have gone the wrong idea of Watto as a team man, why would his peers vote him in as a player rep if he was not a team player? Watto along with Clarke, Ponting and Hussey have been the only players in modern era who have had patches where they were dominant cricketers and Watto awas the opener at the time so I think its too simplistic to say he doesn't have the technique to bat at 3. Two tons in the last 4 tests and I see this as the second coming of Watto as a test batsman.

  • on December 20, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    my best player in the world is watson i love and like the game played by watson.... any format of the game is suitable for watson.... he has watto power and stamina to score a lot of game.... my dream is to meet watson for this dream i am trying to go australia for study from my native country nepal........ lets hope watson will play far better than this in coming 2 ashes test and 5 odi and 2 t20..... i wanna see watson scored double hundred in test and odi and century in t20 because upto here watson has not made that i am sure he will make it in his future and he doesnot make me and his great fan upset about it..... watson watson........ show your talent watson......

  • pat_one_back on December 20, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    I suspect the return of Hadds and the insertion of Rogers & in particular Lehmann will have quietened Watson down and addressed the cultural divide created by Mickey & Clarke having the younger group on a string. Watto saw Huss jump and no doubt showed dissension towards the 'high performance' environment that accelerated Huss' retirement. Let's face it Watson is no poker face. Though it's so true that teams are more harmonious when winning I think the replacement of Arthur and Clarke's relinquishing of selection duties have put the ruptures to permanent rest. And if Aust start losing again Watson will be gone anyway!

  • on December 20, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    how many times do we have to go back to Hughes? Sure he is making runs in shield matches ...but who is bowling..and where is the pressure that he faces in test cricket? In tests he comes out looking like he is going to have a tooth extracted! Let him mature more in domestic cricket..maybe a bit more time to heal old wounds. Going in for one match where the pressure of failure is ever-present is not the way to gain confidence. Once the aussie team is more confident it could make it easier for him..but not yet!!

  • ToneMalone on December 19, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    Hearing Clarke say all the right things about Watson and building bridges, but I'm struggling to remember Watson stepping up to the plate to praise the efforts of Clarke. If Watson wants to be remembered in a positive light, he not only needs to make more runs, he also needs to be more forthcoming with public support for the captain.

  • hmmmmm... on December 19, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    I feel for uzzie - if he had as many chances as Watson in the last couple of years he would have scored a few more centuries by now. I think the Hughes/warner option is too much of the same style and likely to produce the same collapses we were seeing not so long ago...kahwajia could open with warner as he has by far the best technique against a swinging ball (if you saw his innings in Hobart last year) Hughes/Doolan at 3 then Clarke, Smith, Watson, Paine.

  • ShutTheGate on December 19, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    @ Praspunter - I agree that Watto isn't the number 3 we need. Especially if we want to be number 1. I think we need a number 3 who is really hard to get out and has amazing mental endurance. We have enough attacking batsmen in the lineup.

    For the tour to South Africa I'd like to see something like 1. Warner 2. Hughes 3. Doolan 4. Clarke 5. Smith 6. Watson 7. Haddin 8.Johnson 9. Harris 10. Siddle 11. Lyon 12. Bailey

    With Bailey coming in for Watson if we want 6 specialist batsmen instead of an all rounder. I believe that Watson should be picked as an all rounder and not a specialist batsmen. If he's not fit to bowl he shouldn't be picked.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on December 19, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    I just don't see him as a 3. I actually think another more test-like 3, like Rogers, someone who is conservative and values their wicket is a better option. We have enough batsmen who can flay the ball around and despite the 3-0 scoreline, unlike the @FFL of the world we won't paper over our cracks, we still have a few questions in the batting department. I wonder if Nick Compton could qualify, he'd be ideal and England don't seem to want him which is bizarre when you have a player like Root who is only consistent at failing.

  • VivGilchrist on December 19, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    Watto is valuable to the team as he is a very good allrounder. This has enabled our bowling group to stick together for all 3 Tests as his quality bowling takes wickets and eases the load on the attack. People love to criticize, but the fact is he is only batting 3 because there is no one else to. I agree that he is a perfect number 6. He is actually putting himself under more scrutiny by putting his hand up and batting 3 for the team rather than "hiding" down at the all rounders no6 posi and avoiding the pressure. Do not underestimate the his bowling has contributed the the series result.

  • dunger.bob on December 19, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    Isn't it funny how a few wins can get old adversaries like Watto & Clarke talking and getting on again. On the other side of the coin a few losses can make old mates turn on each other in the dressing room and in the media.

    I suppose there's a possibility of Watto coming good under this regime. He might have been suffering as much as anyone on Mickey's watch but he was playing long before Arthur took over. Only 4 centuries in all that time. .. I think they're gunna stick with him now though. His Perth ton ensures he goes to South Africa in the number three possy pretty much regardless of what happens at the G and in Sydney I'd say.. What we need now is one of the young guns to start making so many runs in the Shield after the BBL that he demands to be taken to SA (Burns, Doolan, Lynn or anyone else who wants to put his hand up - I don't care who it is). That way when Watto gets injured again, they can slot him straight in.

  • winner2008 on December 19, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    Ah, Clarke too praised Watson even in his bad form. But Dhoni swept away the legends who were threat to his captaincy(Sehwag and Gambhir) while they are out of form, with his power in bcci. Now Dhoni struggling with his wipers(Ashwin,Vijay,Rohit) in monstrous conditions.

  • on December 19, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Australia do not have the most talented or best credentialed group of players; however they have become a TEAM!There is an established culture now of playing for each other towards a common cause with genuine trust in each others abilities. This culture has been forged in some very dark and humbling times through a process aided recently by Lehmann in alliance with the longtime standard bearer in Michael Clarke. Michael Clarke who has carried forward the lofty standards in preparation,training and performance inherited from Ponting and Steve Waugh has benefited from Lehmann's off the pitch people skills and support and it appears a winning combination. They are much more powerful than the sum of their parts and would do well never to forget this through the good times lest individual ego's begin to take precedence. Also..It was marvellous to see Steve Smith independantly step into Clarke's shoes with a match saving ton. This is evidence that the batting is developing self sufficiency.

  • PrasPunter on December 19, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx , irrespective of Rogers' performance, he is not gonna be a long term solution for us. And yes, I like the prospect of Warner/Hughesy in the JL/MH mode but Hughesy has been inconsistent which I will attribute to some extent to the selectors' impatience. Probably the right time to blood him in at 3, with Rogers around, against SA and push him up.

  • Rajeshj on December 19, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    When winning, the captain takes pride in saying silly things.. Clarke appears to be forgetting what Watson did on the tragic Indian tour.. More than the Boof, one should always give credit to Mickey Arthur, for canning guys like Watson/Johnson.. he gave them a bitter lesson and now everyone can see the results.. I don't think McDermott would travel with the team outside Australia.. Hence I don't see a relative chance of Aussies sustaining their dominance for long... Smile and make generous statements as much as you can now, Clarke..

  • xtrafalgarx on December 19, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    @PrasPunter: I think he would be a good fit at 6 too, but we just don't have any no.3's in the country. I think Hughes should replace Rogers should he have a bad series as an opener. I really like the Warner/Hughes partnership i reckon they could be our closest to Hayden/Langer.

  • on December 19, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    I reckon Australia could also do with a full time sports / remedial masseur. Seems to be a position overlooked in the Argus review. Hey, I wouldnt mind applying for the job!

  • ravi_hari on December 19, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    A winning happy captain will definitely have praising words for his teammates. Watson did contribute with both bat and ball in this series. He picked up crucial wicket in each innings and had a 50+ in a test and this ton at Perth. Batting at No.3 is not very easy, especially when the openers score 150+. You need focus and commitment. Watson showed it and played, as Clarke told, for the team. I think the most significant ton for Watson. With this he has not only got accolades from Clarke will also earn the respect of all his team mates especially the youngsters. Now he will be looked up to and Watson will have more responsibility on his shoulders. The succes of the Aus in this series is as Clarke mentioned the combined effort of all concerned. Able to pick the same XI in three consecutive tests is a huge achievement. Having fit XI is a bonus. With a long gap now, Aus can field the same team again in 4th and 5th tests. Congrats Clarke, Lehmann and team. Great effort, we loved it to the T

  • PrasPunter on December 19, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    To be fair to Watto, the way he whacked the bowlers on Day 4 at Perth, he looked unstoppable till he got out in his usual way. Best fit for No 6. Not a No 3 for sure. Warner/??, Hughes, Pup, Smith, Watto, Paine and then the bowlers, in an year's time.

  • RMCroos on December 19, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    watson is a classic all rounder any captain like to have a player like him in the team...

  • on December 19, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Clarke praising Watson.... sounds good..

  • C.Gull on December 19, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    Kountouris is having a decent run, true, but that's really only compared to what he's achieved prior to now. I miss Errol Alcott.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • C.Gull on December 19, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    Kountouris is having a decent run, true, but that's really only compared to what he's achieved prior to now. I miss Errol Alcott.

  • on December 19, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Clarke praising Watson.... sounds good..

  • RMCroos on December 19, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    watson is a classic all rounder any captain like to have a player like him in the team...

  • PrasPunter on December 19, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    To be fair to Watto, the way he whacked the bowlers on Day 4 at Perth, he looked unstoppable till he got out in his usual way. Best fit for No 6. Not a No 3 for sure. Warner/??, Hughes, Pup, Smith, Watto, Paine and then the bowlers, in an year's time.

  • ravi_hari on December 19, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    A winning happy captain will definitely have praising words for his teammates. Watson did contribute with both bat and ball in this series. He picked up crucial wicket in each innings and had a 50+ in a test and this ton at Perth. Batting at No.3 is not very easy, especially when the openers score 150+. You need focus and commitment. Watson showed it and played, as Clarke told, for the team. I think the most significant ton for Watson. With this he has not only got accolades from Clarke will also earn the respect of all his team mates especially the youngsters. Now he will be looked up to and Watson will have more responsibility on his shoulders. The succes of the Aus in this series is as Clarke mentioned the combined effort of all concerned. Able to pick the same XI in three consecutive tests is a huge achievement. Having fit XI is a bonus. With a long gap now, Aus can field the same team again in 4th and 5th tests. Congrats Clarke, Lehmann and team. Great effort, we loved it to the T

  • on December 19, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    I reckon Australia could also do with a full time sports / remedial masseur. Seems to be a position overlooked in the Argus review. Hey, I wouldnt mind applying for the job!

  • xtrafalgarx on December 19, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    @PrasPunter: I think he would be a good fit at 6 too, but we just don't have any no.3's in the country. I think Hughes should replace Rogers should he have a bad series as an opener. I really like the Warner/Hughes partnership i reckon they could be our closest to Hayden/Langer.

  • Rajeshj on December 19, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    When winning, the captain takes pride in saying silly things.. Clarke appears to be forgetting what Watson did on the tragic Indian tour.. More than the Boof, one should always give credit to Mickey Arthur, for canning guys like Watson/Johnson.. he gave them a bitter lesson and now everyone can see the results.. I don't think McDermott would travel with the team outside Australia.. Hence I don't see a relative chance of Aussies sustaining their dominance for long... Smile and make generous statements as much as you can now, Clarke..

  • PrasPunter on December 19, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx , irrespective of Rogers' performance, he is not gonna be a long term solution for us. And yes, I like the prospect of Warner/Hughesy in the JL/MH mode but Hughesy has been inconsistent which I will attribute to some extent to the selectors' impatience. Probably the right time to blood him in at 3, with Rogers around, against SA and push him up.

  • on December 19, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Australia do not have the most talented or best credentialed group of players; however they have become a TEAM!There is an established culture now of playing for each other towards a common cause with genuine trust in each others abilities. This culture has been forged in some very dark and humbling times through a process aided recently by Lehmann in alliance with the longtime standard bearer in Michael Clarke. Michael Clarke who has carried forward the lofty standards in preparation,training and performance inherited from Ponting and Steve Waugh has benefited from Lehmann's off the pitch people skills and support and it appears a winning combination. They are much more powerful than the sum of their parts and would do well never to forget this through the good times lest individual ego's begin to take precedence. Also..It was marvellous to see Steve Smith independantly step into Clarke's shoes with a match saving ton. This is evidence that the batting is developing self sufficiency.