England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 4th day July 13, 2013

Clarke draws line under Broad debate


With deed and then word, Australia's captain Michael Clarke has ruled a line under the debate that surrounded Stuart Broad's decision not to walk in the second innings of the Trent Bridge Ashes Test. Clarke himself declined to depart after none other than Broad procured a thin edge to Matt Prior behind the stumps as the tourists slid badly in their chase of 311 to win.

Afterwards he said that while the Australians had been frustrated by failing to secure Broad's wicket, there was little case for directing their anger towards the England No. 8. Clarke even referred to the concept of "getting away with" standing your ground and forcing an umpire to deliberate, something he has done several times himself in the past with varied results.

"We would've liked him out for a lot less that's for sure, but that's the way the game goes," Clarke said of Broad. "I'm not going to go back there. There's no need, it's the game of cricket. There's ups and downs, good times, bad times. Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don't. That's what I've seen through my career and that's the way it goes."

Clarke also offered unabashed support to Broad on Sky TV. "I've always been a believer that umpires are there to take decisions," he said. "If everybody walked, we wouldn't need umpires. It is an individual decision but I don't think any less of Stuart for what he did."

Regarding his own dismissal, Clarke said he had been unsure of whether he hit the ball or not, having also brushed bat with pad. His consultation with the non-striker Steven Smith better reflected the 21st century conventions of dismissals in the DRS era than much of the commentary surrounding the question of walking that has sprung up since Broad also stood his ground.

"Obviously not - I referred it," Clarke said. "Well, I knew I had hit my pad. I asked my partner up the other end and he certainly wasn't convinced I hit it either so I referred it. Actually when we both looked at the big screen we couldn't see anything, so we were pretty pumped that we made the right decision. Then I was given out and had another look when I came in the change room and there was a little spot there on Hot Spot. That's the way it goes. That's how the review system operates.

"I've said to our team that if you feel you're not out then back your judgement. And if the review doesn't go your way we move on. I'm not going to go into the DRS at the moment. We're using it. Both teams are using it. It's the same for both teams. We have no excuses at the moment. I'm certainly not going to use DRS as one."

Clarke also offered an extraordinary endorsement of the 19-year-old debutant Ashton Agar. Clearly impressed after watching Agar's treatment of Graeme Swann during his startling, world record 98 at No. 11 in the first innings, Clarke declared Agar to be among the best players of spin to enter the Australia dressing room in years.

Clarke explained that he had batted Agar at No. 11 in the first innings to help ease a nervous debutant into the match. But it seems inconceivable now that Agar will ever do so again for any team. His poise was on display a second time as he hung on stubbornly in the company of Brad Haddin to reach stumps on day four, Australia still needing 137 runs on the final day.

"He's as good a player against spin as we've had in the Australian team for a long time, so I think he'll certainly look forward to facing Swanny tomorrow," Clarke said. "He is definitely not a No. 11 in any team in the world. I batted him there in the first innings only so that he could find his feet in Test match cricket and get into the game. He showed he was ready.

"I thought it was the right thing to let him get into the game slowly, but he obviously proved me wrong there, he batted beautifully."

Apart from Agar, Phillip Hughes in the first innings and a composed opening stand by Shane Watson and Chris Rogers on the fourth afternoon, Australia's batsmen have largely failed to cope with the pressure imposed by England in Nottingham, even if Alastair Cook's side have not sustained it for anywhere near as long as Australia managed. Clarke said the falling of wickets in clusters could be attributed to conditions that England's batsman Ian Bell spoke of in subcontinental terms.

"I think that's the conditions in the UK to be honest," Clarke said. "Especially when you've got a wicket that is quite dry so you've got reverse swing and a lot of spin. I think it's these sort of conditions where if you get in it's about cashing in, going on to big scores, because it is a hard place to start.

"We've spoken about it as a batting unit. It's not from lack of work, the boys have been working extremely hand for the start of their innings and we're as well prepared as we can be. I think we've put up a really good fight so far and I'm excited about tomorrow."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • H_Z_O on July 15, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    @hm007 Actually, you have that backwards. The fact that a batsman who is given out caught behind, without hitting the ball, and has no reviews left, has to walk off the field knowing he wasn't out, is exactly why the batsman has to be allowed to do what Broad did. He knew he was out. Australia did. Dar didn't. If the roles were the other way around, Broad hadn't hit it, but the Australian fielders saw the deflection off Haddin's gloves and assumed he did, appealed and Dar gave it out, would Broad have been allowed to stand his ground even if he had no reviews left?

    As for batsmen standing their ground if they're bowled or caught in the deep, if the umpire misses that then I really hope the condemnation would not be aimed at the batsman for not walking, but at an umpire who has the eyesight of Mr Magoo.

    Dar should have given Broad out. Instead of blaming Broad for not walking, or even Clarke for wasting his reviews, why not blame Dar for missing what was an obvious decision?

  • mrgupta on July 15, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    For all the Aussie supporters crying fowl here let me remind you of another decision when DRS was not yet introduced. In the 2nd test at Sydney in 2007-08 series between India and Aus Andrew Symonds nicked the ball to the keeper. The nick was loud and clear and it was very obvious but he was not given out and he didn't even tried to walk off. Aussie were in bad shape that time and would have definitely lost the match if Symonds was given out. That didn't happen. Broad did the same. If Symonds was right at that time then so was Broad.

  • RoBoBobster on July 15, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    surely you could argue that a thick edge means you were less out-done than a thick one so he had even more right not to walk than for a faint tickle - but hey, that's cricket

  • dummy4fb on July 15, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    i remember the test match between pakistan and australia and gilchrist also got lbw but austrlian umpire didnt give him out and Pakistan lost that test match .Why shane warne always criticize umpires when the lost an ashes or test match against any team .

  • BKyogi on July 15, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    I can still remember when A.Symonds did not walk when he clearly edged the ball to the slip cordon during the 2nd test match against India. Umpire Bucknor did not give him out and he went on to score a century by which Australia won the match. Also, note that the Aussies always have a surprised look on their faces when given out by the umpire. Even when they are bowled, they wait to see whether the bowler bowled a no ball.

  • cricket-is-best on July 15, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    this is ridiculous that broad's crime is even compared to clarke's case, which was far from being foul! clarke stood there to use available technology, as he himself was not sure he nicked it. On the other hand, broad displayed a tremendous act of zero-remourse, even after such a thick edge to slips! its a great attitude by clarke to defend broad, in stark contrast to some of the ex-english cricketers displaying a cognitive distortion act of maximization of clarke's act to minimize broad's!

  • tapooori on July 14, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    Right after Michael Holding passed verdict over Chris Broad's incident, Two Australian players did something which also was as GOOD or BAD as what Chris did.

    Captain of Australian team referred a legitimate caught behind decision (for sure he knew he edged that ball to Prior). And if that was not enough, Haddin decided not to walk after edging the ball in to Prior's gloves (only after the use of DRS he was sent back). Should these two players also banned for bringing the game into dispute?

    The culture not walking after being caught is brought by Australia and except Gilchrist any or every Australian batsmen waits for umpires to give them out. The DRS is basically introduced to kill that "OZ" culture.

  • Twinkie on July 14, 2013, 22:44 GMT

    Mahesh Kameth, Ramdin did not fake a catch. He did not even appeal. Watch it again on youtube. The umpire never asked him if he'd caught it. It's exactly the same as Broad. He just did not volunteer any information. And why should he? The 'spirit of the game' is a nebulous concept with glaring inconsistencies. Keep talking Michael Hoding! The ICC has never been known for its fainess and equitable distribution of penalties.

  • Whatsgoinoffoutthere on July 14, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    @ Anthony Batiste: "When you smash it to first slip you should walk and save the game from farce.Standing your ground after a feather nick is a different kettle of fish."

    The only difference is that in the latter case you think you're going to get away with it. It's like saying a smash-and-grab is theft but picking someone's pocket isn't. Agar was out for six and Trott was sawn off for a duck and the only place this line of debate is headed is that you appear to be wishing the Australians had lost by more.

    This Test will be more noteworthy for different things than the result: It looks like Australia might have unearthed a genuine spin-bowling allrounder of the like they haven't had since Ritchie Benaud. And England are at present over-reliant on Jimmy Anderson to an extent that opens them to huge risk over this series and the one that follows.

  • hm007 on July 14, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    Currenly the argument is that batsman can stand for the umpire's decision regardless of whether he has touched the ball or not. This is totally flawed argument. If you ask me, a batsman has the right to stand his ground ONLY in case he is not sure if he has touched the ball. This does happen often, sure. However, if the batsman is sure that of touching the ball (assuming that his senses are upto the mark when there is a healthy edge, if he doesnt, then rush him to hospital please) he SHOULD walk. If he doesnt, he should be peanalised for acting against the spirit of the game. The case for not walking is that batsman often get some rough decisions against them and they should be allowed to take those which are in favour of them. However, DRS system was introduced exactly to avoid such decisions. Otherwise, every batsman should be allowed to stand irresptive of he has been cought in the deep or got bowled and if umpire goofs it up and if there are no reviews left, there is no coming back