The Ashes 2013 May 15, 2013

Clarke's Ashes warning for batsmen

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As he delivered a series of reassurances that a degenerative back condition would not hobble his forthcoming Ashes campaign, Australia's captain Michael Clarke issued a stern reminder that the tourists' promising pace battery would be rendered useless without sufficient runs to defend.

The announcement of an Australian Ashes squad stocked to the hilt with pace bowlers of quality, plus the scheduling of the first two Tests at the seam and swing friendly surfaces of Trent Bridge and Lord's, has contributed a sense of quiet optimism to many Antipodean observers of the game.

Clarke, though, was frank in reminding his batsmen that they would have to find ways of constructing decent tallies if that bowling strength is to become meaningful. It was a lesson demonstrated during the ODI series between the two countries in England last year, when Australia's bowlers looked tame by comparison with their English counterparts - despite helpful conditions - when given few runs to defend.

"We've got a good attack, there's no doubt about it. The squad of quicks we have is a really good combination. They gel well together, they're all a little bit different," Clarke said. "But there's the other side. As batters we've got to put runs on the board, it's no good giving our attack 150 runs to bowl at. So as batters we have a huge responsibility and a big job to make sure we're getting 350, getting 400 and putting those runs on the board, and I'm very confident if we can select the best attack we can have some success over there."

Clarke also disputed the possibility of England winning the series on dry, turning pitches prepared in the wake of Australia's 4-0 rout by India in February and March, instead noting that the overhead conditions had always been a more critical factor in how batsmen and bowlers fared than the surfaces themselves.

"I think conditions more in the air play a bigger part in England than what you see on the surface. If the sun's out generally the wickets in England are very good for batting. If it's overcast, it doesn't matter how dry the wicket is, you get a lot of swing and some seam in the UK. I don't think you can plan too much over there. I think England will use their strengths in their conditions. We'll be able to adapt, we've got Nathan Lyon, hopefully I can bowl a few part-timers as well. We'll find a way."

As part of his extended rehabilitation from the back and hamstring injuries that ruled him unfit for a Test match for the first time since his debut in 2004, Clarke recently completed a two-week training camp in the southern highlands of New South Wales with his trainer Duncan Kerr. Clarke said the recipe for his return to full fitness had not been any dramatic change in his regimen, but rather a tightening of its monitoring by the national team physio Alex Kountouris and others.

"I've used the experts around me," Clarke said. "Alex Kountouris, the Australian physio, has been fantastic and he's been monitoring my program. In regards to my back it's the daily maintenance I do … I've had another two-week boot camp with Duncan Kerr, we went away to my property there and trained really hard.

"So my preparation in regards to last year has been very similar, but it's been monitored extra closely by the support staff to make sure I'm getting the strength I need, and to make sure I'm well prepared to play the whole 12 months.

"I'm confident it'll be no different to what it has been through my career. I've managed to play 90-odd Test matches and only miss one through my career. That's a big part of why preparation is so important for me, I need to make sure I'm fit, need to make sure I'm not carrying too much weight, I need to make sure I'm putting in the work to be fit in eight or 12 months' time."

Clarke has also been a regular visitor to the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, where those Ashes squad members not waylaid by the IPL or already in England have trained on well-grassed pitches and used the Dukes ball that will be a key player in the series to come.

"It's more just getting used to facing a different ball to a Kookaburra," Clarke said. "With your bowling action hanging on to the ball, catching and fielding as well, just because the ball is a little bit different to what we're used to in Australia.

"We're disappointed with our most recent results in India, we know that's unacceptable as an Australian cricket team, and we've been working hard to try to turn that around. All I can ask for from the boys is to continue to prepare as well as we can, and give it a red hot crack. We know we're playing against a very good team in their own back yard. Test cricket in my eyes will always be the pinnacle, and playing against England in England is as big as it gets."

Clarke was speaking in Sydney, where Cricket Australia announced the upgrade of their longtime sponsor Commonwealth Bank to become the major partner of the Test team and home Test series, following their previous commercial support of ODIs and continued backing of the Southern Stars women's team and grassroots cricket over 26 years.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ScottStevo on May 21, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, The point I'm making is that it is the batting that's let us down. Loads of those scores didn't even get close to 250, or 200 for that matter. It's hard to argue that our batting isn't costing us tests when we score 280 in the first innings and the bowlers do their job and rumble the number 1 side for 90 odd and we manage to lose that test as the batting collapses for less than 50. If we'd even put on a paltry score of 150 we'd have won that test...I'm not bothering to argue that over the entirety of test cricket what an average score is as it doesn't really matter. The reality is if we continually score less that 250 in an innings we will struggle to win matches...against anyone. @FFL, Clarke shouldn't have moved anywhere in the order. He bats at 5, that's where he bats. A keeper keeps, a bowler bowls and Clarke is a middle order bat. We've already got 5 openers in the team, so it's nice to have at least one middle order bat in the squad! Should Dhoni face the first bal

  • Wefinishthis on May 21, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    Meety - Of course it doesn't take in to account wickets because that's the whole point - that your bowlers SHOULD be good enough to defend 600 runs/match. What it doesn't account for is if recent trends are that the scores are usually higher in recent decades (I haven't checked this). ScottStevo - Maxwell got the wickets required per runs conceded which is all that really matters. I'm not saying he's our best spinner, but rather our best spinner on that tour. Who cares about economy rates in test cricket if you're getting the wickets per runs? This is test cricket, not T20. A good point you make, but look at it this way. In the past 3 years, South Africa passed 600 match runs 14 times and lost once, however most (9) were drawn! They should win according to you. Yet 13 times they didn't pass 600 and they won all but 2 of those. 11 wins from 13 batting 'failures'? Regardless of whether they were bowled out or not, how do you explain that? Because 600/match is usually enough to win.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 20, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    Clarke was humiliated in India, and amongst the many Aussie scandals of that tour, the most damaging was Clarke never heeding calls to move out of the bubble of the middle order and take responsibility for the notoriously weak Aussie top order. His technique was proven to be just not up to it. Australia need a real leader, someone who faces the first ball of every innings and takes responsibility for the top order batting. Australia came up against such a captain in their 2012 whitewash and the last Ashes, where a certain player scored a massive 766 runs against them.

  • ScottStevo on May 19, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    @Meety, but it was a poor argument :) @Dave Lowe, comparing the two against India is irrelevant as they were bowling on completely difference surfaces - especially later in the 2 series after Englands spinners started wrecking India and the wickets weren't half the raked-down dust bowls Oz played on. Why not compare 09 - because it doesn't look good for your argument?! What we can compare is a career and after 40 test matches, Siddles stats are superior to that of Anderson. Its no surprise as when Anderson came to Oz in 07 he was complete garbage and we treated him with the disdain he deserved. He's become a much better bowler than that now - good for him as he was useless then - but you cannot say that Siddle won't improve either as he gets older, thus, you can't say that Anderson is a bowler to be proud of and Siddle not. In fact, hes exactly the type we revere in Oz, a hard working battler giving his all for his nation...and a quiet achiever, as his stats would suggest...

  • on May 19, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    @Meety. In what way is 229 wickets at an average of 30 a 'mediocre' career? Ok lets look at the two against India. Anderson 12 wickets at 30, Siddle 9 wickets at 33. and as for comparing the two head to head in ashes you pick 2009. Lets look at 2010-11 in Australia. Anderson 24 @ 26, Siddle 14 @ 34. No one has said you can't be proud of Siddle in Australia but LF was trying to compare him to Anderson as a bowler and you cant. BTW, as someone who has watched cricket for a lot of years and saw Lillee, Thompson, Mcgrath, Hughes, Alderman, Warne etc.. if Peter Siddle is a bowler Aussie fans are proud of then Australian cricket is in an even worse state than I thought!

  • Meety on May 19, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    @Gandery on (May 19, 2013, 9:03 GMT) - apart from being an unabashed Copeland fan, I argued a month or so ago when there was talk that S Marsh was going to get selected for the Ashes, that Copeland had a better claim to batting in the top 6 of a Test match for Oz than him! His county stint sort of confirms that! Doing well in Div 2 must make him on standby!

  • Gandery on May 19, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Trent Copeland batting average of 50 this year and he is taking a bundle of wickets in the county comp. If he is not in the selectors minds than they are crazy. The fact is Copeland is the most consistent performer. Runs, Wickets, Slips Catches and keeps the batsman under pressure keeping the scoring rate low. 164 wickets @ 25 and nearing 1000 runs @ over 20 (batting average doubled in one season with big hundred and a few 50s) tells me he has to be in the Ashes.

  • Meety on May 19, 2013, 1:24 GMT

    @Dave Lowe - that "important" stat is useless. Siddle doesn't play ODIs. Anderson has a fairly mediocre ODI career, he would NOT of played more than a handful of ODIs had he been Ozzy - not up to it. Tests are a different matter & THAT is what LF was talking about. People say "but Anderson is a better bowler than when he debuted" - compare Siddle & Anderson in India recently & recently v Sth Africa & then tell me why Oz fans can't be proud of Sids? Might also want to check out 2009 Ashes stats head to head. Siddle has had ONE poor summer & is ranked higher (whatever that is worth) than Anderson.

  • on May 18, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    @Lliam Flynn. You missed out the most important stat. James Anderson 530 Test & ODI wickets, Graeme Swann 313, Peter Siddle 166. That's why.

  • Meety on May 17, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    @Wefinishthis on (May 16, 2013, 6:17 GMT) "...2051746 runs have been scored from 7571 innings (2087 matches) as of today..." I know your 271 as par is wrong, so I checked your maths & 271 is the product of total runs divided by innings HOWEVER - you have not factored in wickets. I know for a fact that the average runs per wicket over the course of the history of Test cricket is around 33 to 37 (& climbing) - can't be bothered calculating this. IMO - a score of 250 means that you have something to defend, but you would need to be bowl brilliantly TWICE & bat well once to secure a win. I would suggest that around 350 is the score that gives bowlers scope to work with AND starts to create scoreboard pressure.

  • ScottStevo on May 21, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, The point I'm making is that it is the batting that's let us down. Loads of those scores didn't even get close to 250, or 200 for that matter. It's hard to argue that our batting isn't costing us tests when we score 280 in the first innings and the bowlers do their job and rumble the number 1 side for 90 odd and we manage to lose that test as the batting collapses for less than 50. If we'd even put on a paltry score of 150 we'd have won that test...I'm not bothering to argue that over the entirety of test cricket what an average score is as it doesn't really matter. The reality is if we continually score less that 250 in an innings we will struggle to win matches...against anyone. @FFL, Clarke shouldn't have moved anywhere in the order. He bats at 5, that's where he bats. A keeper keeps, a bowler bowls and Clarke is a middle order bat. We've already got 5 openers in the team, so it's nice to have at least one middle order bat in the squad! Should Dhoni face the first bal

  • Wefinishthis on May 21, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    Meety - Of course it doesn't take in to account wickets because that's the whole point - that your bowlers SHOULD be good enough to defend 600 runs/match. What it doesn't account for is if recent trends are that the scores are usually higher in recent decades (I haven't checked this). ScottStevo - Maxwell got the wickets required per runs conceded which is all that really matters. I'm not saying he's our best spinner, but rather our best spinner on that tour. Who cares about economy rates in test cricket if you're getting the wickets per runs? This is test cricket, not T20. A good point you make, but look at it this way. In the past 3 years, South Africa passed 600 match runs 14 times and lost once, however most (9) were drawn! They should win according to you. Yet 13 times they didn't pass 600 and they won all but 2 of those. 11 wins from 13 batting 'failures'? Regardless of whether they were bowled out or not, how do you explain that? Because 600/match is usually enough to win.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 20, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    Clarke was humiliated in India, and amongst the many Aussie scandals of that tour, the most damaging was Clarke never heeding calls to move out of the bubble of the middle order and take responsibility for the notoriously weak Aussie top order. His technique was proven to be just not up to it. Australia need a real leader, someone who faces the first ball of every innings and takes responsibility for the top order batting. Australia came up against such a captain in their 2012 whitewash and the last Ashes, where a certain player scored a massive 766 runs against them.

  • ScottStevo on May 19, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    @Meety, but it was a poor argument :) @Dave Lowe, comparing the two against India is irrelevant as they were bowling on completely difference surfaces - especially later in the 2 series after Englands spinners started wrecking India and the wickets weren't half the raked-down dust bowls Oz played on. Why not compare 09 - because it doesn't look good for your argument?! What we can compare is a career and after 40 test matches, Siddles stats are superior to that of Anderson. Its no surprise as when Anderson came to Oz in 07 he was complete garbage and we treated him with the disdain he deserved. He's become a much better bowler than that now - good for him as he was useless then - but you cannot say that Siddle won't improve either as he gets older, thus, you can't say that Anderson is a bowler to be proud of and Siddle not. In fact, hes exactly the type we revere in Oz, a hard working battler giving his all for his nation...and a quiet achiever, as his stats would suggest...

  • on May 19, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    @Meety. In what way is 229 wickets at an average of 30 a 'mediocre' career? Ok lets look at the two against India. Anderson 12 wickets at 30, Siddle 9 wickets at 33. and as for comparing the two head to head in ashes you pick 2009. Lets look at 2010-11 in Australia. Anderson 24 @ 26, Siddle 14 @ 34. No one has said you can't be proud of Siddle in Australia but LF was trying to compare him to Anderson as a bowler and you cant. BTW, as someone who has watched cricket for a lot of years and saw Lillee, Thompson, Mcgrath, Hughes, Alderman, Warne etc.. if Peter Siddle is a bowler Aussie fans are proud of then Australian cricket is in an even worse state than I thought!

  • Meety on May 19, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    @Gandery on (May 19, 2013, 9:03 GMT) - apart from being an unabashed Copeland fan, I argued a month or so ago when there was talk that S Marsh was going to get selected for the Ashes, that Copeland had a better claim to batting in the top 6 of a Test match for Oz than him! His county stint sort of confirms that! Doing well in Div 2 must make him on standby!

  • Gandery on May 19, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Trent Copeland batting average of 50 this year and he is taking a bundle of wickets in the county comp. If he is not in the selectors minds than they are crazy. The fact is Copeland is the most consistent performer. Runs, Wickets, Slips Catches and keeps the batsman under pressure keeping the scoring rate low. 164 wickets @ 25 and nearing 1000 runs @ over 20 (batting average doubled in one season with big hundred and a few 50s) tells me he has to be in the Ashes.

  • Meety on May 19, 2013, 1:24 GMT

    @Dave Lowe - that "important" stat is useless. Siddle doesn't play ODIs. Anderson has a fairly mediocre ODI career, he would NOT of played more than a handful of ODIs had he been Ozzy - not up to it. Tests are a different matter & THAT is what LF was talking about. People say "but Anderson is a better bowler than when he debuted" - compare Siddle & Anderson in India recently & recently v Sth Africa & then tell me why Oz fans can't be proud of Sids? Might also want to check out 2009 Ashes stats head to head. Siddle has had ONE poor summer & is ranked higher (whatever that is worth) than Anderson.

  • on May 18, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    @Lliam Flynn. You missed out the most important stat. James Anderson 530 Test & ODI wickets, Graeme Swann 313, Peter Siddle 166. That's why.

  • Meety on May 17, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    @Wefinishthis on (May 16, 2013, 6:17 GMT) "...2051746 runs have been scored from 7571 innings (2087 matches) as of today..." I know your 271 as par is wrong, so I checked your maths & 271 is the product of total runs divided by innings HOWEVER - you have not factored in wickets. I know for a fact that the average runs per wicket over the course of the history of Test cricket is around 33 to 37 (& climbing) - can't be bothered calculating this. IMO - a score of 250 means that you have something to defend, but you would need to be bowl brilliantly TWICE & bat well once to secure a win. I would suggest that around 350 is the score that gives bowlers scope to work with AND starts to create scoreboard pressure.

  • Shuraim on May 17, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    My team for First 2 tests:Warner.Rogers,Hughes,Clarke,Khawaja,Watson,Haddin,Starc,Siddle,Harris and Pattinson. Save lyon for last 3 matches on more slower surfaces.

  • ozwriter on May 17, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    don't let cowan or hughes anywhere near the starting line up, and we'll have an OK top 6.

    warner, watson, rogers, clarke, khawaja, wade, haddin, siddle, pattinson, starc, lyon

  • AKS286 on May 16, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Clarke must go up to the order, why the best batsman of Aus loves to bat with tailenders. Compton , Broad and little bit Trott are the weak point to attack for. Hughes & Warner are the key person to score big runs. Hughes is a good player if pitch is having Pace. just want is fully fit ENG side.

  • ScottStevo on May 16, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, Not sure which test match you were watching when Maxwell "bowled well"! He got 4 wickets when they were trying to hammer him (more so) out of the park. Think he went for something over 5/6 per over. He was useless....I'm not blaming wickets being prepared the way they were, I'm just saying they weren't exactly seam friendly. Lovely stats, however pointless they may be. If you think scoring 250 per innings should be defended, then you're going to be upset more times than not. Our problem has been for some time our batting. You don't have to look too far to see why we're losing - vs SA 322/163 - lost, v Ind 380/241 lost, 237/131 lost, 408/223 - lost, 262/164 - lost. Nah, it's the bowlers fault! vs NZ 136/233 - lost, vs SA 284/47 - lost. vs Eng 245/304 - lost, 98/258 - lost, 268/308 - lost, 245/304 - lost. Still think 250 is enough??????????

  • Wefinishthis on May 16, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    ScottStevo - In the history of test cricket, 2051746 runs have been scored from 7571 innings (2087 matches) as of today. This means that on average, most teams score 271 every innings across every test match ever played. I'd say that this makes 271 a good par score each innings. Of just the winning teams, it's 712650 runs over 2371 innings, which means that to win, your team should on average score 300.6 runs/innings. These are very general stats of course, but they show that a couple of scores of 250 would not be too far out of the realm of winning a match, especially if you had quality bowlers. Pitches do make a difference, but it is not a full excuse. Pattinson and Maxwell bowled well in India and McGrath was extremely successful when he toured there (in fact he was successful on every pitch in any form of the game), I never heard any of them making excuses about the doctored pitches. Had Philander/Steyn/Swann/Ajmal been playing, I can bet 250 would have been enough.

  • AKS286 on May 16, 2013, 4:45 GMT

    @Ms.Cricket on (May 15, 2013, 22:11 GMT) My and your opinion is same about that Clarke must give up his captaincy and play under Smith or any other skillful leader. But the main issue is this whenever Clarke is out of form or any bad series gone he will be axed on the basis of non- performing senior. No one likes him except Cowan, Wade, Starc, lyon. He will lost his position after giving up to captaincy.

  • Meety on May 16, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    @Lliam Flynn - prior to your comment there was only one comment critical of Siddle. @Jono Makim - I was thinking batting looked better this season in the County - until this week! There have been some shockers! @ Dashgar on (May 15, 2013, 12:21 GMT) - loved every word! @A_Yorkshire_Lad on (May 15, 2013, 13:59 GMT) - I think the assumption is, that this time around, our pace attack is stronger than in 09, & so is our spin. I think England will loathe to have seaming decks as it then levels the playing field - only have to look at the 2nd Test Oz v NZ @ Hobart to see what a Green Monster can do. @ScottStevo on (May 15, 2013, 13:00 GMT) - that "mediocre" spinner (assuming Doherty is the "useless" one), performed better on his debut Indian tour than Warne, Swann on or Panesar, & I think Murali. 15 wickets @ 37 is a reasonable return, Swann averaged over 50 his first time & Panesar had tours averaging 70 & 50.

  • on May 16, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    @hhillbumper....I agree! The legend of the Australian pace attack seems to grow and grow without so much as a ball being bowled. Englands only option to salvage some respectability from this upcoming 5-0 whitewash is to prepare flat wickets to slow these marauding Australian Bowlers down...;). Only by preparing flat wickets will Englands ok batsmen of Cook,Trott,KP and Prior even hope to lay bat on ball (the face of the bat that is).Never mind the small concern of Captain Clarke's fetish for extreme scores on flat wickets (his reference to 150 scores above is only the rest of the batsmens scores minus his regular 300's). England would be wise (IMHO) to revise downwards their previous goals of retaining the Ashes at home to ony losing 4/0 and trying to salvage at least one honourable draw..(lol)

  • VB_Andy on May 16, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    The Key will be winning the toss, making the right call, no one giving their wicket away, and every man fights to the end to get to that 350+ mark.

    When we bowl, not a single sighter to the batsman. Bowl very full to get the ball swinging. None of this bowling short outside off for several overs where England will just leave the ball. Every ball must be a wicket taker or a helmet rattler.

    When the English bowlers come to the crease to bat, give them a nice welcome and let them know we are in town.

  • bobagorof on May 16, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    Robert Roemer: So you're suggesting that scores of 237/9d and 131, and 262 and 164 are good enough to win matches? Even in Australia's best innings on tour, 408, it was Smith and Starc who put on 90s (Starc being a bowler!) after the only decent opening partnership on tour. Australia's only other score above 300 included 130 from Clarke himself. After Clarke, Smith and Starc, Cowan had the best average with 33, and the other top 6 batsmen (including Wade, who was batting too high) averaged less than 25 - 3 of them were under 20!. And you think this isn't a problem?

  • Ms.Cricket on May 15, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    Team morale has sliipped under Clarke. He seems to be very autocratic and the team looks uncertain. Clarke should step down from captaincy and let his own batting continue its glory while letting the team develop under a leader who does not rule by fear.

  • hhillbumper on May 15, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    This is the greatest bowling attack Australia have ever put together.They have so many bowlers capable of running through the poor England batting order and the Aussia batting will decimate England.Don't know why we bother turning up really.i mean look at recent history it has been one long white wash after another and Australia have held the Ashes with out fail for decades.

  • on May 15, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Clarke is just essentially bignoting himself. He's just turning the spotlight on him - a lot of rubbish its up to the batsmen, the bowlers need deperately to perfom just as they didnt in India, quite simply this guy has no clue.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on May 15, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    Expert physio Alex Kountouris? The same guy who can't keep our best bowlers on the field when we need them. I have very little confidence in these batsmen who have not improved and are actually regressing. Plus with Clarke as captain and selector, team harmony will continue to be poor. Remove Clarke and coach Saffa from selectors group, hire Boof as coach, retire Haddin for good, end the Watson test career, pick players who are in form and have proven seasons of results at first class level, never select bits and pieces players who can't make the team based on one discipline, and cut down on the support staff who are constantly getting in the way to try and justify their position. If I was picking an ashes XI: Rogers, Cosgrove, Khawaja, Doolan, Clarke, Smith, Paine, Faulkner, Pattinson, Harris, O'Keefe. Cosgrove would be a surprise to many because of his weight, but he is one of the most talented and consistent batsmen we have, especially at county level. Merv, Boof, Boon were fat

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on May 15, 2013, 14:07 GMT

    Point noted , Clarky. The good thing though is that you got an incredibly good pace attack and gloomy ,swing/seaming conditions to top it off . Imagine a talent as good as Mitch J swinging it in @ 145 + and having all batsmen in IPL in all sorts on flat IPL Indian tracks doesn't get into the top 5 in the pace lineup , how good it is . Arguably the best pace attack in the world a.t.m with SA only match. To my point,in cond. just a bit fav'ble the Eng bat line up will not put much more than 150 and on a roll poss. even scuttle them for under 100 more than a couple of times in Ashes 1. To the point about their own batting ,Aus have more than their share of bats who are bordering mediocre save the brilliant M Clarke. But the struggling Eng bowlrs will help these batsmen flatter themselves with heavy scores by end of 5th game.Off course Clarke will carve out customary 3 100 + scores in the series and with bit of help from the other 10 even a 200.More than enuf for 4/5-0 defeat for Poms!

  • A_Yorkshire_Lad on May 15, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    After the 2009 Ashes the statistician and commentator Simon Hughes noted that "Australia made seven individual centuries to England's two, and they had six men averaging over 40 in the five Tests, compared to just Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott for England. They were definitely superior with the bat " ; England won because they had the better bowlers . If we continue to have such a wet summer - indeed , if we will be able to play the matches at all ! - then overhead conditions will be more important than the preparation of the wickets. Clarkey should be a bit more concerned about the state of his bowlers than his batsmen , I reckon !

  • ScottStevo on May 15, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    @WeFinishThis, honestly, our batting let us down terribly in India and has done so for some time, a lot more so than our bowling. 400 is a par score there, so 250 is a horror show. As you say, we had to scrape to 250, most times with the bowlers getting the bulk of the runs! Although, you turn up in india with one mediocre spinner and a useless one, of course the bowling is going to be tough as there's never much doing for seamers in India, so your criticism of especially Starc (who didn't play the whole series) and Siddle is a bit tough. Also, as I said yesterday, we didn't finish off the tail, so badly was that evident in the first test that Dhoni scored lord knows how many runs with 9,10 and11...(don't think Starc was playing ;-) ). Nonetheless, if you score 250 in an innings, 4/5 times you'll lose a test. And Aus have been crumbling to a poor score almost every second outing. it's hard to believe there are some that blame our bowling rather than our battng-where the real issue lies

  • whoster on May 15, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    England are rightly favourites, and a fair few Aussie batsmen have to join Clarke in scoring big runs. Clarke can't carry on carrying the batting forever, and sooner or later he'll hit a lean patch. The Aussies do have a promising group of pace bowlers, but it's still an attack that has a lot to prove. For England, there's two pace bowling spots up for grabs to accompany Anderson. Finn and Broad both need to start producing consistently to justify their selections. England are far more settled in batting, spin bowling and wicketkeeper/batsman, and the Aussie batsmen and bowlers will have to move up another couple of levels to seriously challenge for The Ashes.

  • Dashgar on May 15, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    As an Aussie fan I'm loving this buildup. Way better than the false optimism we've become used to in the post-Warne era. Now the players can get down to playing solid cricket and not worry about the bravado of the situation. Everyone knows what needs to be done. Everyone knows we need to perform better than we did in India. Let the Poms heckle us. We'll be the ones laughing in the end.

  • Beazle on May 15, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    Very simply the worst Australian team I have seen in 50 years. It is truly astonishing how quickly their standards have deteriorated in just 5 years. The famous pyramid structure that has sustained Australian Test cricket for more than 100 years has now been irretrievably destroyed by techniques and minds seduced by the lesser requirements of the 20 over bash.

  • AKS286 on May 15, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    No Doubt that Poms will whitewash Oz. But Hughes & Warner are the key men. Rest are waste. @ Lliam Flynn on (May 15, 2013, 8:36 GMT) I don't understand why you all Oz plays paper cricket these days. That two men won many matches for Eng. Siddle & Jimmy, Swann don't compare fella just look at the India tour.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 15, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    Clarke's warning to Aussie batsmen: Just remember their bowlers have bested us for the last five long years, and thrash us just for fun these days. Just swing through the line of the ball, don't move your feet, show little skill or technique...and you'll do absolutely fine...

  • OneEyedAussie on May 15, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    It may sound odd but I think Clarke needs to start improving the fielding commitment before just asking the batsmen to make more runs. The great Australian sides of the past twenty years were built upon discipline in the field. They took the catches and made the run-outs nobody else would. I think Bobby Simpson is the most influential person in this regard. Get these guys scrapping in the field like their life depends on it and I would be surprised if this increased commitment doesn't follow into the batting.

  • Sukruti on May 15, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Personally I believe Peter Siddle and James Pattinson had bowled well in India during their recent test series. Unfortunately, conditions did not suit them well. I am sure they will come back strong in England. But it is not just the bowlers who win the test matches. It is first the batsmen should put up a good show, put enough runs on the board and then the bowlers have liberty to do their job. At the worst, they might not win the match but atleast can prevent from insulting defeats. This was what India was doing during the 70s & 80s and the records clearly reflect this. India has the highest % of draws in the test cricket history. Courtesy Gavaskar!!! On the other hand England is far superior in every department comapred to this Australian side. We have to be just patient until this Australian transition phase passes and a new era starts. Who knows we might see some very good players like the Pontings, Wagughs, Warnes and McGraths!!!

  • RednWhiteArmy on May 15, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    When your following on & are 60/7 you'll be happy with 150, michael.

  • CricketMaan on May 15, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    When was the last time an Aussie skipper defended his underperforming batsman and praising an English team!!! such is life

  • on May 15, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    I think @ Brussels Lion is right, the pitches are looking pretty good for batting right now, should get even better as the season progresses, so long as the sun comes out! I have little doubt that the Aussie bats will put on some runs here and there throughout the series, more than anything what we'll need is a strong team performance across the board.

    I think the 'lack of experience' tag placed upon our batting is completely misleading. To say that Watson and Haddin are the ones with experience in English conditions is even worse. Rogers, Cowan, Hughes and Khawaja have all got recent time in on the county circuit and of course Clarke played quite a bit for Hampshire too. With the amount of lead in time these guys will get with the A tour, county games and ODI + tour matches they should be more than prepared. There can only be one question left, are they good enough? We'll find out soon enough.

  • PFEL on May 15, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    Even with McGrath, Gillespie, Lee, Warne we still rarely bowled sides out for under 200, so I wouldn't be expecting better from Starc, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon . . .

  • Sunil_Batra on May 15, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    The experience factor should be taken into consideration; certainly with the batting (where Cook, Trott, Bell, Pietersen and Prior have loads) and Swann/Panesar vs Lyon/- is a no-brainer, but we are ahead in the fast bowling department. I see Warner and Khawaja as the 2 young batsman who will fire for us outside of Clarke and we must put up 300+ totals if we are to have any chance of winning back the urn.

  • Flemo_Gilly on May 15, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    Clarke is correct, we need our batsman scoring more runs. I expect the likes of Khawaja and Rogers who didn't play in India to really fire for us and hats off to the selectors for getting them in. The next couple of ashes and def this coming one in england, is more englands to lose than austalia to win. if both teams play well england win, if australia play well and england play bad then we could win. my worry is that there is so little mongrel left. if we get behind i dont see us being able to bat for a full day to salvage a draw which is what's needed.

  • on May 15, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    Geez, the knockers are out in full force today. A little information from Statsguru:

    Peter Siddle - 41 tests, 28.84 average, 57.6 S/R

    James Anderson - 80 tests, 30.61 average, 59.2 S/R

    Graeme Swann - 50 tests, 29.13 average, 59.9 S/R

    Why are Anderson and Swann hyped as unplayable greats while Siddle is told to retire? Give the man a bit of respect.

  • brusselslion on May 15, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    Don't know about TB, OT or CLS but the early season wickets in London - especially the Oval - aren't up to much. There is nothing at all in it for the seamers. The pitches are largely dead. Think slightly better version of India - England @Nagpur.

    Before the conspiracy theorists have their say, remember that, whatever you might think of them as internationals, Surrey have, arguably, the best seam attack in the county championship (Dernbach, Meaker, Tremlett) so this is either (1) complete altruism (country before club) (2) complete stupidity or (3) rank poor ground maintainence on the part of Surrey. My money's on 2 and/or 3.

    @Vineet Kumar: I really hope that you are proved correct. Even at the Oval, Australia should be, at least, 2 down - and possibly 5 down - for about 50 if they go in with that batting line-up!

  • ravi_hari on May 15, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    Clarke is right in asking his batsmen to deliver to be able to fight it out with a capable bowling attack. However, for that to happen Clarke needs to get his line up right. It is high time he gives Watson his rightful place at the top. He and Warner should open and Cowan should take the important No. 3 slot. Clarke should bat at No. 4 or 5 as he has been successful as a batsman in that position. With Haddin set to return he should be the No. 6 and the bowlers can follow. Finding an allrounder in the absence of Smith and Jhonson will be difficult for Aussies. As Watson has resumed bowling it would be wise to have a specialist batsman at No. 7. Starc has shown how well he can bat and that will add to the depth of the batting. However, in England it will not be as easy for talienders and the frontline should shoulder the responsibility all through. Hope it works for Aussies. But please dont mess up with Watson!

  • latecut_04 on May 15, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Well ..well ..Well..How things change ...2003..The great Tunga warrior and ruthlessly steel nerved Aussie skipper steven Waugh issues warning to English batsmen that they are Pidge's and Warnie's bunnies...Fast Forward 2013...Australian Captain 'warns' his batsmen he will not be satisfied with 150-200!!!!God Almighty....You sure do play games better than anyone else....!!!!

  • latecut_04 on May 15, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    I am a huge fan of Clarke of late but I should say this public announcement is mistimed and misplaced. Issuing a public warning like this will only put more pressure on the likes of Warner,Khwaja,Cowan,Hughes etc who are already poor when it comes to experience.(Agreed the likes of Cowan and Hughes have county cricket credentials yet...)This should have been issued to them in a room within the confines of four walls and not publicly especially before the Englishmen who would feel quite justifiably that Clarke does not have much belief in his own batsmen. Agreed they haven't delivered of late but should you forfeit a series even before a bowl is bowled. And all this talk about bowling attack being 'as good as any' without the likes of Starc ,Pattinson,Bird etc bowling a single ball in England may also fall flat on the face. Sorry but this reminds me of a statement made by the then Indian Board President Jayant lele before india embarked on a tour to Australia in99 'we will lose 3-0'

  • on May 15, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    @gemmy...350 in the first and scores of 200+ in the second innings will be all the runs our bowlers will need in most English Conditions. Our bowlers would settle for that 9 times out of 10 and be confident of getting 20 English wickets for Less. (with our besst attack)

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on May 15, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    The pitches in England usually give all disciplines of the game a fair crack at displaying their skills so there will be no excuses for either side. Australia's problem (beyond the much reduced batting strength) will be the lack of experience in English Test conditions of these bowlers albeit some of them are talented. Only Siddle and Watson I think have played Test cricket in England so Harris, Pattinson, Starc and Bird are all novices. They may turn out to take to it like ducks to water but England's bowlers (Anderson, Broad, Finn, Swann) have been there and done that at Trent Bridge , Lord etc. As mentioned the problem with the batsmen is even more acute ..... Clarke, Watson, Haddin (with English conditions Test experience) & some newbies vs Cook Trott Bell Pietersen & Prior.

  • on May 15, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Trent Bridge and Lords as swing and seam friendly venues? Really? These days, Lords tends to start flat and get flatter. TB can swing a bit, but it tends to be a good batting track on which spinners are needed later on.

  • AKS286 on May 15, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    OMG Clarke is disappointed by the result against Australia !. Fella what about SA and ODI failures.

  • on May 15, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    my final ashes xi-

    1.ed cowan 2.david warner 3.phil hughes 4.shane watson(all) 5.m clarke(all) 6.m wade 7.b haddin(wk) 8.m stac 9.p siddle 10.j patto 11.n lyon

  • AKS286 on May 15, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    I think after the loss of Ashes'13 CA must remove Clarke as a Captain- Which is strongly needed. Smith is the perfect leader to guide Australia into correct path. Klinger, Hughes, Marsh, Clarke, Smith (C), Paine. Watto(VC), Johnson, Pattinson, Hilfy/Siddle, Beer/Boyce . I'm waiting Fella for Australia's tour to Bangladesh. 78% favours goes to Bangladesh.

  • AKS286 on May 15, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    This warning don't apply on Cowan, Warner, M.Waste, Lyon,Starc. This warning is the path of retirement for Haddin, Watto, Siddle.

  • gemmy123 on May 15, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    Scoring 350 or 400...is that what you're aiming for on those good English batting wickets Pup? Crikey. Doesnt smack of quiet confidence to me.

  • Wefinishthis on May 15, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    It wasn't so much our batting that cost us in India, but our bowling and England will be no different. Our batsmen were poor, but managed to scrap to roughly 200-250 scores for most innings which is poor, but still very winnable if the bowling is good. With the exception of Pattinson and Maxwell, our bowling was atrocious. Almost every innings we gave away 400+ runs. The main culprits predictably being Johnson, Starc and Doherty. Siddle and Lyon weren't very good either, barely hanging in there. If Siddle bowls fuller, he'll be good in England, but he doesn't have the consistency. Bird, Pattinson and Harris will be the keys and Faulkner could be a handful so providing we don't pick Siddle, Starc and Lyon in the same team, we'll be in with a great chance of 20 wickets. So I think Clarke has it the wrong way around. It's not fair to our batsmen to have to be chasing 400+ runs every innings. NO team in history has won test matches consistently like that and this will be no different.

  • Meety on May 15, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Good onya Pup! I'd actually prefer drier pitches in England as there always be much more bounce & a bit more pace in the wickets that in India. The lack of pace, indifferent bounce is what causes Oz batsmen problems in India - not necessarily spin. Oz will be much more comfortable playing Swan in England )or Oz for that matter), than if they had to play him in India - where he'd really hurt us.

  • on May 15, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Clarke in my opinion is amongst the best captains in terms of his leadership quality and willingness to take accountability for his team's performance. Hopefully the suspension of players in India should instill some more discipline in the rest of the Aust team. Yes they are still relatively 'green', but Australia's batsmen in India had no patience to stick around, almost a carbon copy of the temperament India's batsman adopted when they toured Aus the year before. Hard, gritty batting is required to just get runs on the board, and Clarke needs to drill this into his batsman again and again. Hopefully we will see a competitive series, though I feel it will still weigh heaviliy in England's favour, especially since they are playing at home - I'm predicting 3-0.

  • Surajdon9 on May 15, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    Clarke will rock...............All the Best Pup..

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  • Surajdon9 on May 15, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    Clarke will rock...............All the Best Pup..

  • on May 15, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Clarke in my opinion is amongst the best captains in terms of his leadership quality and willingness to take accountability for his team's performance. Hopefully the suspension of players in India should instill some more discipline in the rest of the Aust team. Yes they are still relatively 'green', but Australia's batsmen in India had no patience to stick around, almost a carbon copy of the temperament India's batsman adopted when they toured Aus the year before. Hard, gritty batting is required to just get runs on the board, and Clarke needs to drill this into his batsman again and again. Hopefully we will see a competitive series, though I feel it will still weigh heaviliy in England's favour, especially since they are playing at home - I'm predicting 3-0.

  • Meety on May 15, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Good onya Pup! I'd actually prefer drier pitches in England as there always be much more bounce & a bit more pace in the wickets that in India. The lack of pace, indifferent bounce is what causes Oz batsmen problems in India - not necessarily spin. Oz will be much more comfortable playing Swan in England )or Oz for that matter), than if they had to play him in India - where he'd really hurt us.

  • Wefinishthis on May 15, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    It wasn't so much our batting that cost us in India, but our bowling and England will be no different. Our batsmen were poor, but managed to scrap to roughly 200-250 scores for most innings which is poor, but still very winnable if the bowling is good. With the exception of Pattinson and Maxwell, our bowling was atrocious. Almost every innings we gave away 400+ runs. The main culprits predictably being Johnson, Starc and Doherty. Siddle and Lyon weren't very good either, barely hanging in there. If Siddle bowls fuller, he'll be good in England, but he doesn't have the consistency. Bird, Pattinson and Harris will be the keys and Faulkner could be a handful so providing we don't pick Siddle, Starc and Lyon in the same team, we'll be in with a great chance of 20 wickets. So I think Clarke has it the wrong way around. It's not fair to our batsmen to have to be chasing 400+ runs every innings. NO team in history has won test matches consistently like that and this will be no different.

  • gemmy123 on May 15, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    Scoring 350 or 400...is that what you're aiming for on those good English batting wickets Pup? Crikey. Doesnt smack of quiet confidence to me.

  • AKS286 on May 15, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    This warning don't apply on Cowan, Warner, M.Waste, Lyon,Starc. This warning is the path of retirement for Haddin, Watto, Siddle.

  • AKS286 on May 15, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    I think after the loss of Ashes'13 CA must remove Clarke as a Captain- Which is strongly needed. Smith is the perfect leader to guide Australia into correct path. Klinger, Hughes, Marsh, Clarke, Smith (C), Paine. Watto(VC), Johnson, Pattinson, Hilfy/Siddle, Beer/Boyce . I'm waiting Fella for Australia's tour to Bangladesh. 78% favours goes to Bangladesh.

  • on May 15, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    my final ashes xi-

    1.ed cowan 2.david warner 3.phil hughes 4.shane watson(all) 5.m clarke(all) 6.m wade 7.b haddin(wk) 8.m stac 9.p siddle 10.j patto 11.n lyon

  • AKS286 on May 15, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    OMG Clarke is disappointed by the result against Australia !. Fella what about SA and ODI failures.

  • on May 15, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Trent Bridge and Lords as swing and seam friendly venues? Really? These days, Lords tends to start flat and get flatter. TB can swing a bit, but it tends to be a good batting track on which spinners are needed later on.