England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 5th day August 25, 2013

Adventure almost vindicated for gambler Clarke

A few more runs on the board more quickly and a few more overs to bowl England out and Australia might almost have had a sniff of victory at The Oval
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There are times when conservatism kicks in naturally. For Michael Clarke, that time arrived late on the final day at The Oval. Later than it would have for Ricky Ponting, or Alastair Cook, or MS Dhoni. It came gradually. Fielders had been stationed around the bat when Nathan Lyon was bowling, men in close on both sides, a slip and a leg slip. Slowly but surely, as the wickets didn't come with the rush that he desired, Clarke moved his men back. And back. And back.

By the time Shane Watson came on for his first over of the match, the fours were flowing, Kevin Pietersen was nearing fifty, and the last hour was approaching. Five men went back to the boundary. Then six. No slips. For the first time in a long time, captain Clarke was playing not to win but to draw. Such an approach is not his default setting. If it was, he would not have set England a gettable target, he would have told his men to bat for safety and then reassess.

In Mohali in March, when India were chasing 133 in a minimum of 27 overs, Clarke pushed unsuccessfully for victory. He could have used delaying tactics, slowed his bowlers down, taken time over his fields. That he did not, that he moved the Australians through their overs quite normally led to a situation in which Australia actually bowled nine overs more than were required. It is just possible that they might otherwise have salvaged a draw.

But there, a draw was of no value to Australia, for the series would stay alive only with an Australian win. At The Oval, there was no such series to play for. The urn was gone. Parity could not be achieved. But still there were reasons for Clarke to gamble. His men had not experienced a Test victory since the first week of the year. They had suffered seven losses and one draw in that time. If there was any possibility of giving the team the chance to win, it was worth taking.

3-0, 4-0 does it make a difference? Not in any material sense. Clarke could have been the first Australian captain to lead his team to four defeats in an Ashes series without a win, but that is a manufactured statistic. Other Australian squads have lost Ashes contests 5-1 or 4-1. Others - as Clarke well knows - have lost three Ashes Tests by an innings at home. 3-0, 4-0, this was never going to plumb those depths.

And so it was no surprise that Clarke tried to manufacture a result, tried to force a match that looked like petering out to a draw into a new direction. He sent Watson out to open with David Warner, installed James Faulkner and Brad Haddin as pinch-hitters, and gave Ryan Harris and Mitchell Starc licence to attack. Not all of those moves paid off. With hindsight, perhaps Chris Rogers might have picked the gaps in the field more effectively than others who tried to clear it.

A few more runs on the board more quickly and a few more overs to bowl England out and Australia might almost have had a sniff. By giving England the lure of a 4-0 victory, they enticed enough shots to claim five England wickets. It is difficult to imagine most captains in Clarke's situation allowing the opposition such a chance. Dismissing a team in one session is a remarkable goal but that Australia attempted it in search of that elusive win was in many ways admirable.

It was also symptomatic of Australia's wider approach. Day in, day out, their Test batsmen play at balls they should leave, lack patience, and try to force things. And when that risk-taking behaviour fails, they are inclined to go for double or nothing, chase good money with bad, as gamblers call it. The pay-offs can be great but the losses crippling.

England and South Africa are not the world's best teams by accident. Often they play for safety first, victory second. England certainly did on a dour day three at The Oval. Clarke often talks about consistency; his men will become a better side if they can adopt a little of that mentality in their general approach to Test cricket. On a day like this, such an approach was of little value to Australia. Clarke's gamble was necessary at The Oval.

"That's the way I'd like to see cricket played," Clarke said after the near-loss. "I'd certainly like to lead the Australian team playing in that type of manner. I think we had nothing to lose, obviously 3-0 down. And to me, even if you're not 3-0 down you've got to try to do everything you can to win the Test match. There's obviously the risk of losing and that was there today as well, but I think it was what we had to try and do.

"One team is going to win and one team is going to lose. That's the way I've always played my cricket. I try to win every game. Today there was a risk we might lose but I'm not scared of that risk."

At least, not until Pietersen gets going. Then, even Clarke finds within himself an ounce of conservatism.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Greatest_Game on August 27, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    "Dismissing a team in one session is a remarkable goal but that Australia attempted it in search of that elusive win was in many ways admirable. "

    In a 2011 test, Australia dismissed South Africa in 24.3 overs. That's a session. South Africa then dismissed Australia in 18.3 overs. That is quicker than a 20/20, or than Broad can tie a shoelace! Only at England's over rate could those be considered a "session."

    This year SA dismissed NZ in 19.3 overs, and Pak in 29.1 overs, and Eng dismissed NZ in 22.3 overs.

    Dismissing a team in a session is not that unusual. Really.

  • Liquefierrrr on August 27, 2013, 0:16 GMT

    To those implying that Clarke did the wrong thing by wanting his team to go off, ultimately wanting to cease or slow down play, let's remember:

    * The shoelace incident * The 11 over hour * Cook's refusal to bowl spin to ensure play was suspended due to poor light * England's 215 run, 98 over day

    No captain wants to lose, Cook took far less risks this series because he didn't have to. I believe Cook is a very average captain - he follows where the ball was hit with fielders, has retreat fields within the first hour of play and condones slow batting/over rates when things are tight.

    Cook's not a bright captain, that's obvious, however you can't string the lad up for not wanting to lose. He is a good team man too.

    Clarke, back-to-the-wall here, tried his utmost to force a favourable result and when things didn't work out he applied a 'Cook-esque' method.

    So whatever Clarke is guilty of here, if anything other than not wanting to lose, Cook is guilty of the same in larger doses.

  • Captain_Tuk_Tuk on August 26, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Being a neutral fan I think Clarke is one of the greatest Captain in the history and thats what I like about Australia's attitude. This is not the first time they did it even in CT13 last match against Srilanka they did there best to win big to qualify and lost due to that effort but I think they were unfortunate because there one match was washed due to rain and they had no choice.

    They have best young side not much experience but there talent is worth mentioning. I am from Pakistan and our captain can't be compared with even Cook let alone Clarke. England was looking for draw on 3rd day of the Test if they were so keen to win they would have scored much more quickly on 3rd they. They were looking for a draw and they got one but hats off to Australia who made dead rubber game a historical match. I wish Clarke was captaining my national team. I will happily take 4-0 and 3-0 if he was captaining.

  • promal on August 26, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    In Mohali in March 2013, it was not out of Clarke's doing that 9 extra overs were bowled on Day 5. It was because India maintained a 17-18 overs/hr rate throughout the series, and in Mohali too, India's over-rates were very high, whereas Australia were close to 12 overs/hr. In any case because of a washout on Day 1, 98 overs were scheduled for the next 4 days, and the days India bowled, consistently more overs were completed. Australia CANNOT be credited with attacking cricket and/or superior over-rates during their tour to India. It's one of the few times that India has actually done something to improve the image of Test cricket over the last few years......

  • 07sanjeewakaru on August 28, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    For those who booed Clarke at the presentation,Should've come in the 3rd day for England see England batting.I don't think Cook even with 4-0 lead prior to the this test would've made this kind of declaration.Claerk is the only Aussie in the team that carries legendary Aussie way of playing cricket.He should nurture some youngsters with that sprit.If not world will bored with test cricket with this English Cook way.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 27, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    By any standards this was a desperate roll of the dice by Clarke and one that all but resulted in loss number 8 out of 9 games.

    But then, Clarke indicated at the beginning of the series that he considers his personal "brand" in broader terms than, you know, the performance of the side that he leads.

    It's lucky for Clarke that the side now has a charismatic coach to pull the dressing room together, because his impulsive, divisive, and disastrously unsuccessful captaincy can't be winning him many friends.

  • on August 27, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    When the opposition is running away with the game, you cannot insert two slips and a gully and not hope for rain/bad light, no matter how forward-thinking you are as a captain. There is a difference between aggression and foolhardiness.

  • on August 27, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    David Warner,Chris Rogers,Shane Watson,Nick Maddinson,Michel Clarke,Steve Smith,Brad Haddin,James Faulkner,Mitchel Johnson,Ryan Harris,Petter Siddle 12 th man Steve Ofkee

    Noo Use Of Spinner In AustrailSquad So Stick With These Team Try To bowl Few Overs Spin Wid Steve Smith and Michel clarke or Go With Steve Ofkee

  • Greatest_Game on August 27, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    @ electric_loco_WAP4 says "Clarke ...the world's best batsman... the best captain in the world...Aus best pace battery in the world ... any 1 or all of Cummins, Patto , Starc will shortly take the no.1 pacer slot from ageing Steyn..."

    At home vs a weak SL, Clarke -for the 1st and only time - was ranked #1 from Nov 22, 2012 to Jan 31, 2013. Amla has been #1 since then. Clarke is back to #5, 47 points below his best. (Amla is also ODI #1: Clarke is #12.) Clarke - NOT the best batsman in the world is also not the best captain. England, India and SA: NOT ONE win. Enough said.

    SA pace bowlers are ranked #1 & 2. Harris, Aus' top ranked is at hisbest ranking & rating ever - 108 below Philander, 123 below Steyn - #1 since 2009!!

    Cummins won't play again. Pattinson lasts 2 tests. Starc is ranked below Kallis! Steyn is 30. Imran Khan played till 40, McGrath 37, Ambrose 37... see the picture, Loco. 7 more years!!

    Loco, you simply have no idea, at all, about cricket. Not a clue.

  • whofriggincares on August 27, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    @Jmchilinney, comparing Australia's 6/111 to the England run chase is folly surely someone with you cricket knowledge ( and i'm not being smart saying that) realizes that setting an unknown target is definetly harder than chasing an established benchmark where the target is known from the start. I think anyone who understands the game woud recognize the difference in mindset required to do each of these different scenarios.

  • Greatest_Game on August 27, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    "Dismissing a team in one session is a remarkable goal but that Australia attempted it in search of that elusive win was in many ways admirable. "

    In a 2011 test, Australia dismissed South Africa in 24.3 overs. That's a session. South Africa then dismissed Australia in 18.3 overs. That is quicker than a 20/20, or than Broad can tie a shoelace! Only at England's over rate could those be considered a "session."

    This year SA dismissed NZ in 19.3 overs, and Pak in 29.1 overs, and Eng dismissed NZ in 22.3 overs.

    Dismissing a team in a session is not that unusual. Really.

  • Liquefierrrr on August 27, 2013, 0:16 GMT

    To those implying that Clarke did the wrong thing by wanting his team to go off, ultimately wanting to cease or slow down play, let's remember:

    * The shoelace incident * The 11 over hour * Cook's refusal to bowl spin to ensure play was suspended due to poor light * England's 215 run, 98 over day

    No captain wants to lose, Cook took far less risks this series because he didn't have to. I believe Cook is a very average captain - he follows where the ball was hit with fielders, has retreat fields within the first hour of play and condones slow batting/over rates when things are tight.

    Cook's not a bright captain, that's obvious, however you can't string the lad up for not wanting to lose. He is a good team man too.

    Clarke, back-to-the-wall here, tried his utmost to force a favourable result and when things didn't work out he applied a 'Cook-esque' method.

    So whatever Clarke is guilty of here, if anything other than not wanting to lose, Cook is guilty of the same in larger doses.

  • Captain_Tuk_Tuk on August 26, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Being a neutral fan I think Clarke is one of the greatest Captain in the history and thats what I like about Australia's attitude. This is not the first time they did it even in CT13 last match against Srilanka they did there best to win big to qualify and lost due to that effort but I think they were unfortunate because there one match was washed due to rain and they had no choice.

    They have best young side not much experience but there talent is worth mentioning. I am from Pakistan and our captain can't be compared with even Cook let alone Clarke. England was looking for draw on 3rd day of the Test if they were so keen to win they would have scored much more quickly on 3rd they. They were looking for a draw and they got one but hats off to Australia who made dead rubber game a historical match. I wish Clarke was captaining my national team. I will happily take 4-0 and 3-0 if he was captaining.

  • promal on August 26, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    In Mohali in March 2013, it was not out of Clarke's doing that 9 extra overs were bowled on Day 5. It was because India maintained a 17-18 overs/hr rate throughout the series, and in Mohali too, India's over-rates were very high, whereas Australia were close to 12 overs/hr. In any case because of a washout on Day 1, 98 overs were scheduled for the next 4 days, and the days India bowled, consistently more overs were completed. Australia CANNOT be credited with attacking cricket and/or superior over-rates during their tour to India. It's one of the few times that India has actually done something to improve the image of Test cricket over the last few years......

  • 07sanjeewakaru on August 28, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    For those who booed Clarke at the presentation,Should've come in the 3rd day for England see England batting.I don't think Cook even with 4-0 lead prior to the this test would've made this kind of declaration.Claerk is the only Aussie in the team that carries legendary Aussie way of playing cricket.He should nurture some youngsters with that sprit.If not world will bored with test cricket with this English Cook way.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 27, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    By any standards this was a desperate roll of the dice by Clarke and one that all but resulted in loss number 8 out of 9 games.

    But then, Clarke indicated at the beginning of the series that he considers his personal "brand" in broader terms than, you know, the performance of the side that he leads.

    It's lucky for Clarke that the side now has a charismatic coach to pull the dressing room together, because his impulsive, divisive, and disastrously unsuccessful captaincy can't be winning him many friends.

  • on August 27, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    When the opposition is running away with the game, you cannot insert two slips and a gully and not hope for rain/bad light, no matter how forward-thinking you are as a captain. There is a difference between aggression and foolhardiness.

  • on August 27, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    David Warner,Chris Rogers,Shane Watson,Nick Maddinson,Michel Clarke,Steve Smith,Brad Haddin,James Faulkner,Mitchel Johnson,Ryan Harris,Petter Siddle 12 th man Steve Ofkee

    Noo Use Of Spinner In AustrailSquad So Stick With These Team Try To bowl Few Overs Spin Wid Steve Smith and Michel clarke or Go With Steve Ofkee

  • Greatest_Game on August 27, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    @ electric_loco_WAP4 says "Clarke ...the world's best batsman... the best captain in the world...Aus best pace battery in the world ... any 1 or all of Cummins, Patto , Starc will shortly take the no.1 pacer slot from ageing Steyn..."

    At home vs a weak SL, Clarke -for the 1st and only time - was ranked #1 from Nov 22, 2012 to Jan 31, 2013. Amla has been #1 since then. Clarke is back to #5, 47 points below his best. (Amla is also ODI #1: Clarke is #12.) Clarke - NOT the best batsman in the world is also not the best captain. England, India and SA: NOT ONE win. Enough said.

    SA pace bowlers are ranked #1 & 2. Harris, Aus' top ranked is at hisbest ranking & rating ever - 108 below Philander, 123 below Steyn - #1 since 2009!!

    Cummins won't play again. Pattinson lasts 2 tests. Starc is ranked below Kallis! Steyn is 30. Imran Khan played till 40, McGrath 37, Ambrose 37... see the picture, Loco. 7 more years!!

    Loco, you simply have no idea, at all, about cricket. Not a clue.

  • whofriggincares on August 27, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    @Jmchilinney, comparing Australia's 6/111 to the England run chase is folly surely someone with you cricket knowledge ( and i'm not being smart saying that) realizes that setting an unknown target is definetly harder than chasing an established benchmark where the target is known from the start. I think anyone who understands the game woud recognize the difference in mindset required to do each of these different scenarios.

  • niazbhi on August 27, 2013, 1:50 GMT

    In india Pattinson got three wickets in first three overs. Clarke took him off after three overs. India went on to score big. A good captain let the wicket taking bowler bowl at least 5 overs, may be 10. Clark may get an odd wicket out of Warner or Smith once in a blue moon. It really does not matter when they have high bowling average. A good captain has a good handle on statistics and use the odds in his favor. It seems to me Clarke is driven by people's praise for his unusual decisions. Statistically his odd decisions have not be good for the team, but beneficial for the drama some fans/media are looking for.

    Cook is a no-nonsense captain. Harris, Pattinson, Siddle etc. look more dangerous than Anderson. Cook managed to support him and Broad and look what he got the best out of them.

  • Leed1975 on August 27, 2013, 0:24 GMT

    Talk about mixed messages. How can you criticise your own team by suggesting that they don't have enough fight and then undo all of their hard work by putting them in a likely losing position. To readily risk losing for the sake of a miracle win tells the players to be aggressive at all times. How can you then criticise a young batsmen taking a dash at a wide ball and getting caught in the slips. 'Yep, son, go for the win at all costs for it doesn't matter if we lose, but by the way, if you get out trying to score quicker runs, well you are going to get dropped.' What does it matter if Australia collapses in the 4th innings, they weren't going to win anyway? What did more to give Eng a chance, a declaration or a series of rash shots by the Aussies? Clarke, Lehman and Warne have the same problem in that they view the game as black or white. They have got to be smarter than that. Clarke is no great captain any more than Roger Ramjet was a complex superhero.

  • Liquefierrrr on August 27, 2013, 0:07 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge: I find it very amusing that people are now trolling you with fake profile names and similarly ridiculous posts. They've really worked you out and satirised your nonsense to the point where your posts have lost all meaning (well, to be fair they never really had much).

    Onto the actual contents of the article and reasonable, informed opinion now - Clarke did his utmost this series to make the best of a bad situation. We were outplayed by England when it mattered and that's all the scoreline and the urn are worried about.

    Clarke, as is his way, kept his reputation as a world-class batsman and also maintained his reputation as an attacking, thoughtful captain.

    Cook, not so much. Cook didn't need to do much this series in terms of thoughtfulness, he didn't need to score many runs. This is proven by the fact he did neither of these things and Eng still won. But credit to him, he's a great team man and team manager, the KP and Panesar issues are testament to that.

  • Leed1975 on August 27, 2013, 0:05 GMT

    Clarke was duped by England. One of the things that makes test match cricket so fantastic is the human aspect; getting in the oppositions head. It's not just about field placements and bowling changes. In the match wrap up, Cook noted that the Australians would do anything for the win so it was Englands job to make it harder for them to win, thus making it easier for England. Normal practice would presume that when a team scores 500 in the first innings, the results available are a win for that team or a draw. Clarke makes it a win or a loss. Because Clarke will set a total, all the other team has to do is bat time and avoid the follow on. Clarke will then make up for any other shortcomings in the remaining innings by declaring and wiping out the benefit of the first. Cook knew that a big Aus first innings would be sabotaged by Clarke valuing a win more than he feared a loss. It was day 3 when England took a potentially winning position thanks to predictable Clarke.

  • samincolumbia on August 26, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    So Clarke is a great captain after losing two series in spectacular fashion, 0-4 in India and 0-3 in England. Had not the umpires felt sorry for Clarke and ended play on account of bad light, England would have won the Oval test as well. Spare a thought for Dhoni. He keeps winning matches for India from impossible situations, albeit in a different format (ODI and T20) time and again and he is considered just lucky, while an aussie captain and his team manages to lost matches from winning positions (4th test for example) and he is considered a great leader.

  • BigINDFan on August 26, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    What Clarke did should be praised for the fact that he was willing to gamble for a win when Eng had all the advantage having won the series. Had it been 2-2 we would have seen a different Eng attitude chasing 200+ runs. I am sure same can be said to any other team.

    Fact is Aus team is weak in batting, strong in fast bowling and non-existent in spin. But they have one of the best batsmen and captains in Clarke. Aus should admit they lost this tour but hopefully found a few positives with batting that they can take into the next series.

    ICC - if test cricket should survive beyond "people who truly know cricket" fan base then innovate. Otherwise even the Ashes will lose value once the Clarke's of the world retire plunging Aus cricket down further. Clarke showed in this test taking a gamble or innovating is worth keeping the the interest alive. Kudos mate!

  • on August 26, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    Michael Clarke may not be as successful as his predecessors but he's one of the best captains in world cricket at the moment....I'm looking forward to Australia getting back the urn at their own backyard and Michael Clarke silencing his critics without changing his tactics!!Good Luck to Michael Clarke and his team for their next assignment against the English!!

  • Capt.Harry on August 26, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    If England were 205 for nine with the same 4 overs to go would Aus have walked off or bully the umpires to leave the field ?..definitely not...When Aus starts playing the game as it should be played only then will they get the respect of the world and most supporters.. as it now they are a bunch of sour grapes who complain constantly when things are not in their favor...Time for ICC to step in and ensure this type of ending to a cricket match does not ever happen again.

  • Roshan_P on August 26, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    Credit to the England bowlers who didn't let the Aussie batsmen score too quickly and restricted their run rate by taking regular wickets. It meant Clarke had to settle for a gettable target and then the England batsmen could then show their true batting prowess. I was surprised to see the Aussie bowlers bowling fairly unthreateningly. Faulkner looks more suited to limited over bowling, where he can also come down the order and slog. Oz should play a specialist batsman at 6, not a T20 allrounder.

  • grande-zaza on August 26, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    What did you want Clarke to do... bowl on and give it to England when light was fading and conditions were not in their/his favour because it is what England would have done? There is not a captain in the world that would not of questioned the light in that situation given the ridiculous precedence set in this series. But this does not take anything away from Clarke's excellent captaincy nor his courage.

    If not for the declaration twice of Clarke and KP's sublime second innings this test would of petered out to a non event, because Cook, Roots and to a lesser degree Trotts approaches where not going to get England over the line.

    As for Englands continued time wasting in the series when Australia was getting on top or Broad not walking, well within their rights to do it and plenty of players and teams have been guilty of it, including oz, but please do not try and tell us that it is in the spirit of the game nor the best interest of the game and paying public...

  • jmcilhinney on August 26, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    It's worth noting that, while England were fairly certain to manage that run chase but for the light, judging by Australia's second innings, it would have been beyond them.

  • John-Price on August 26, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    I think it wrong to say, as @Mighty-Hawk suggests, that the West Indies and Australia became great teams by playing risky cricket. I do not remember Clive Lloyd or Viv Richards as being adventurous captains. They simply played to their considerable strengths and gave the opposition nothing; risk was not part of their game-plan. Nor, come to that can I remember Border, Taylor or Waugh taking too many chances. Gilchrist did once (at Headingley) and when that resulted in defeat, Waugh came back on one leg rather than risk any more adventurous declarations.

    Yesterday, the English team management sensed Clarke's desperation to get a win and maneuvered him into a position when he offered England a chance of victory while leaving himself with little to play for but a draw - the scenario of bowling England out in 45 overs was simply not realistic. The captain of a more successful team would have recognised this and not come so close to giving a test away.

  • GeoffreysMother on August 26, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    So in the end what did Clarke's gesture bring? The talk maybe about him wanting to provide entertainment - but really he wanted some advantage to take into the next series. He hoped, if not to win, to seriously embarrass England and encourage his side to feel a win is just round the corner. That though did not happen. England, managed to soak up the Australian pressure in their first innings and sit in whilst the Australian's 'bowled dry'. They then attacked once the follow on total was passed and the game was safe . They then took more wickets for fewer runs than Clarke would have wanted in Australia's second innings. Lastly they batted at a pace that would have won the game had the light not intervened and Clarke , understandably, slowed the game down. Seems to me Australia were no nearer knowing how to beat England but had found another possible way to lose to them.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 26, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4 (post on August 26, 2013, 10:17 GMT): once again, you contradict yourself in your rantings about this infamous Aus. pace battery being the best in the world. How on Earth can a bowler like Cummins who only lasts 4 overs at best (i.e. a short-format specialist at best) become a great test bowler? Fitness is a major part of being a world class test bowler, and the majority of Australia's pace bowlers do not have it. Lack of spinners and/or batsmen should not deter a great pace bowler from performing well either. Face it, the cupboard is bare - and South Africa and England will have to show how it's done.

  • mikkkk on August 26, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    @Mighty_Hawk "That is how Australia became the best side for a 20 year era." Rubbish! They became the best side because they had by far the best players. The "risk defeat to win" soundbite was something handed out to Aussie shills in the media and slavishly repeated by people like you by the aus backroom. It was repeated ad nauseum by Warne in the commentary. I was even mocked by the lads in The Huddle. It was nothing more than an attempt by the Aussie management to cement this idea that Cooke is negative and Clarke is positive. Nothing more than a futile gesture for the sole purpose of the aggrandisement of Clarke which became all the more embarrassing when England took up the challenge and came so close that Clarke wasnt prepared to lose to win after all. They must think the aus public are gullible to fall for this. And you demonstrate they are right.

  • 64blip on August 26, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    It wasn't a brave declaration, it reeked of the hubris that still surrounds this Australian team. Clarke thought they could bowl England out in what, 45 overs? Delusional. England had scored at 2 an over previously because the Australian attack was just so good and there was no way they'd manage 5+? Plain wrong. @ Robert Allen Damn right: to a professional cricketer, professional cricket is about results, not entertainment. His own and the teams (not necessarily in that order).

  • highveldhillbilly on August 26, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Look I'd be the first to say that historically Smith hasn't been the more exciting captain around but that does seem to be changing of late. Last year in the second test in England he also tried to manufacture a similar result to the one Clarke tried. However Clarke really had nothing to lose, would he have done the same if it was nil all in the series? I really, really doubt it. I like and appreciate the move but lets also look at it in context of the series.

  • brusselslion on August 26, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    It is difficult to warm to this England team & management as they do give the impression of being aloff and arrogant. The conservative approach to matches doesn't help but, what grates is their response to any criticism. Saker's comment that fans booing the appallingly slow over-rate were 'uneducated' was patronising. Their unapologetic non-reponse to negative comments about Friday's scoring rate was unfortunate. Yesterday's events just enhance this feeling. Arguing that Cook was justified in not declaring - once we avoided the follow-on yesterday - misses the point. The onus was on Cook initially to make a gamne of it. (If Clarke had the same mindset, yesterday afternoon would have been turgid).

    Anyway, I look forward to attending a few days of next season's home Test matches (assuming, of course, I pass the "Saker Educated Person's Test" and am allowed to buy a ticket!).

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 26, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    Clarke again proving whe he is with being the world's best batsman is by far the best captain in the world .Shame he has nothing to show for it as he has the misfortune of helming arguably the worst or 1 of worst - even granted this Aus team has easily the best pace battery in the world and even their younger lot are far and away the most promising in the world and any 1 or all of Cummins, Patto , Starc will shortly take the no.1 pacer slot from ageing Steyn,though mitigating factors like their appalling fitness/injury track record,no spinner and possibly the worst batting of the top 8 test lineups spoil all the pacer's efforts - Aus teams in long time .Had he even some of the champions of the Taylor,Waugh or even Ponting era ,he would have easily won this series 4/5 -0 along with being no.1 in the world .Cook on other hand was at his defensive best even when Eng were even slightly threatened and we all know of Old Trafford ,don't we?

  • MartinC on August 26, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    @chris-Howard - what other choice? Make sure of the draw which was the best result he was going to get anyway. Australia have lost a lot of Tests matches this year, 4-0 loss in India and now 3-0 in England. Being on the best end of a draw is not a bad place to start in turning things around.

    Just think how that dressing room would have been if bad light had not arrived and England had won. Another defeat snatched from the jaws of victory and another 4-0 loss. The Charge of the Light Brigade was not brave it was stupid and so was Clarke yesterday in my opinion.

  • Mighty_Hawk on August 26, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    That is how Australia became the best side for a 20 year era. Risk defeat to claim victory. Yes by having a few more talented players as well. It's why the English side will never reach those lofty heights. 2 teams in the history of test cricket have played like that, West Indies and Australia and their aura still lives today. Yes England did have to bat well but what would they have done had they been Australia's position? Set a target? Nope. Bat slowly for the rest of the day and take a draw? Probably because all English sides have been conservative. They will never win 16 in a row cos they just don't have the mindset to.

  • on August 26, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    Glad to see an interesting end to this match as it looked as though it was turning into a tedious draw, England totally deserved to win the series even though they did not play that well, whether 3-0 or or not who knows.

    I am an England Supporter and i can honestly say i think Michael Clarke is a fantastic captain he has got some real guts that declaration was incredibly brave there is no way Alistair Cook would have done that or many of the other Captains around the world and i think when Australia get some stability he will do your country Proud

  • anver777 on August 26, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Clarke's risky declaration certainly made the final session more thrilling & interesting, otherwise it was heading for dull draw... well done Clarke for making "Test Cricket" the ultimate winner!

  • on August 26, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Michael Clark declared thinking there was absolutely no chance that his team would lose and everyone thought he was a positive thinking Aussie hero. But as soon as it became apparent that his team were going to lose he became an arrogant, angry negative captain who wanted to walk off without getting a result either way! HERO TO ZERO INDEED!!!

  • harshthakor on August 26, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    I complement England for going for the victory target and morally attaining it.It simply ressurected the true spirit of test cricket unlike many past England sides would have done in the past.A dead game was revived towards an enthralling climax thanks to Michael Clarke.A most appropriate projection of the true spirit of Ashes Cricket.The day was simply a victory for test cricket in general and proved that the 5 day game has no equal.

  • on August 26, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    Beautifully spoken @spinkingKK. The draw is a last resort (as resorted to by Australia at the death) not an option to be considered on Day 2. England's play in this test (particularly the first 3 days) epitomized the worst of test cricket. The game is better than the that. The paying public and TV viewers deserve better and I hope England honestly reflect and decide they are better than that too.

  • on August 26, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    I'm not sure Clarke deserves all the plaudits being handed out to him over his declaration. Personally I feel there's an element of minds gmaes about it. His close mate Warnie has been attacking Cook and Eng about their supposed negativity for weeks now. Therefore a plan is cooked up; Eng is set a target that would be tricky to reach in the no of overs remaining and the fact ODI rules are not in force. If Eng plod along at 3 an over and get nowhere near, as most commentators were predicting at the time, then Eng would be attacked by Warne and other members of the Aus camp for their attitude and gives them a boost heading into the winter series. Instead Eng come incredibly close to reaching the target and Clarke is reduced to the tactics that Aus had condeemed England for earlier. He did help set up an exciting finish, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't to give the crowd something to cheer about.

  • Chris_Howard on August 26, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Can someone please explain to me what other choice Clarke had??? The Poms put him in the situation where he had to make a game of it.

    If he didn't, all the Australians would have looked like total hypocrites because of Faulkner's rant.

    The reality is, England should be massively congratulated for their tactical nous in manipulating the situation to their advantage.

    And that's why we can't beat them. They keep winning the mind games.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 26, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    Clarke's physical tussling with the umpires and temper tantrums at the end was very bad to witness, a sore loser who couldn't take the fact that 4-0 was just 5 mins worth of play away. Australia need a leader who takes defeats gracefully. Clarke has had every opportunity to get used to this, he still hasn't learnt.

  • Playfair on August 26, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    WELL DONE Clarke !! Made a game out of nothing, can only be a good thing for the paying public and television viewers. Those slagging him off, need to look at Englands over rates and tactics through out the series.

  • LeeHallam on August 26, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    The truth is that England always knew that Clarke would try to set up a chase, that is why they batted so positively in the morning. That is why Cook only used his best bowlers, to limit the target that Australia could set England. Clarke would have hoped to set England a higher target over more overs, but he was not allowed to. Once the target was set England pounced, and were relentless in pursuit, it quickly dawned on Clarke that he had made a terrible miscalculation, and he switched to a desperate defensive strategy. Clarke deserves credit for having a go, but in truth Cook was in control throughout the day. The way to win is not, as Shane Warne banged on and on about on Sky, by risking defeat. The way to win is, when you are in the position to win, to grab hold of it and not let go. Cook has done that in four of these matches, that is why England have won.

  • spinkingKK on August 26, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    @Lmaotsetung, Congratulations to your team for winning the series and they have played the game fair. However, that is where it ends. They have been boring in each an every tests except when they were given a chance to go for a win when their chance of losing is less than 5%. They have decided to go for a draw in the final test on their first innings even after winning the series in the 4th test. What a load of rubbish. Winning is one thing. But, playing the sport in the true spirit is an entirely different thing. England have failed in that. They don't understand that both winning and losing is part of sports. By the way I am a neutral supporter.

  • pommyadders on August 26, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    "Clarke keep it going and I hope all other team learn this trait from Australia.. Remember world beating teams are made by winning matches, not by drawing them." 9 tests without a win, is this how world beating teams are made?

  • on August 26, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    like they say Nothing ventured, nothing gained..! I really appreciate and thank Clarke for that sporting declaration, it was a gamble and well it almost bit him back... England were sporting too once they got a whiff of what they could get out of it... but they will always be second fiddle in this...

  • spinkingKK on August 26, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    Australian captains, right from Alan Border, have always played the cricket in the true spirit. By declaring, Michael Clarke have sent a message to the England camp who, even after winning the series, have opted to play out a draw in their first innings. Cricket, like any other sports, needs to be played to win. If Alan Border didn't declare way back in 1986 in Chennai, we wouldn't have witnessed the second Tied match in history. Australian cricketers very well understand that they have a responsibility to entertain the public. This is a spectator sport. True you may have to play every now and then to save a test match. But, the draw should never be a choice before having a crack at the victory. That way, even a draw is thrilling to watch. VERY WELL DONE CLARKE. You have proved that you are a TRUE AUSTRALIAN CAPTAIN WITH TRUE SPORTSMAN SPIRIT.

  • on August 26, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    Clarke has done many like this... We would have seen in series against Srilanka and West Indies lately... He is always adventeurous...

  • MartinC on August 26, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    I'm sorry it was a bad declaration. There was no way Australia would bowl England out in 40 overs so what Clarke did was almost throw away a Test match. I'm sure they did not think England would go for the runs and you could see the panic in Clarke at the end. It's quite interesting how the Ozzys are embracing the role of plucky losers - as an England fan I recall the need to find consolation from lost series very well.

  • pity_aus on August 26, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    Good on you Pup. This Australian team, though losing now, but with Pup as their leader is moving into a right direction - greatness. I have seen many captans, the likes of Clive Loyd, Viv Richard, Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting and now Micheal Clarke - all of them are great captains. They have positive attitude towards winning matches - they are not afraid to lose in order to win. England captains, I don't think they are in similar class, they play for safety first, they like the result to read like this WDDDDDDWDDDDDDD - as long as there is no L then ok. What a boring type of cricket. As my American friend said, you play like hell fr 5 days and the result is a draw - what a waste of time watching it. I am a purist, I dont like ODI and T20 because the games are solely for entertainment purpose. Test cricket build character, test patience, make you think etc....with Pup attitude test cricket will be interesting and enjoyful to watch. Once again well done Pup.

  • on August 26, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    strip away the controversy, and what clarke did was give a sold-out crowd - and the millions watching on tv - real excitement on what could well have been a deadly dull last day. cook would not have done the same, nor would graeme smith. dhoni might have, but other than that clarke stands alone as a man willing to give the spectators for one something for their money. given that the chance of australia bowling out englad in 44overs was minimal, he contrived a situation where australia could only, at best, get a draw out of the game. so give praise to pup, and the extraordinary kevin pietersen. yes, the bad light law is bad, but that's because the umpires have all the responsibility for its enforcement, and no opportunity for flexibility. had the old law pertained, clarke would have had the chance to go off, and we wouldn't have this fuss - largely incited by the red-top press -we have now.

  • Ahmed.Sharfuddin on August 26, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    I appreciate for Clarke for making the test from nowhere to an exiting match. but also great batting from team england.both the teams were in eager of win.... this is why so calles as "ASHES"

  • SandipManjrekar on August 26, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    The test match was heading for boring draw. Clarke took gamble which Cook accepted with equal approach. Both Clarke & Cook should be applauded for their positives at the end of the tour. They should get all the praise here. The result couldn't have effect on the decided series. This was real treat for Test match fans & also for critics all over the world to attract them more in the future. Well played England....Well played Oz.....

  • yoohoo on August 26, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    @Lmaotsetung - The difference is this was a dead rubber, and the Ind-WI match was a series decider. Look at the Match-3 of this ashes to see how conservative and defensive england can get.

  • on August 26, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    It is not win, or lose attitude which makes a team great. It is win, draw or lose (as a last resort) which makes taems great. Making a sporting declaration and losing is stupid. As rightly pointed out, Aussies have to learn this from Engand and South Africa

  • on August 26, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Whatever be the final results, the sad thing is Australians were not able to win even a single match against this not too strong England side. It shows current australian team does not have mentally the winning fire generally they had.

  • ravi_hari on August 26, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    I think if any one believes in positive thinking then Clarke should get all the praise. I dont think any captain today will risk losing for the heck of it. Clarke wanting to give his team something to fight for on the last day and was trying to catch the England team unawares. That the England team also responsded positively shows how close these two teams comepted this ashes. If Aussies could have taken a wkt or two more on day 3, things would have been different. The rain had deprived Aussies of a possible win twice this ashes. Imagine if both the tests had run the full 5 days the score line would have read 3-2 which is the correct reflection of the series. England won because Aussies could not win. An Aussies team of the late 1990s would have won 4 out of the 5 tests. It would have been 4-1 in favour of Aus. Despite rain they could have won both the tests. However, the present team is evolving and it will take atleast a few more series before the knack of winning comes back to Aus.

  • HumzaRafaqat on August 26, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    HATS OFF TO CLARKE , desperate need of such test captains,they are not play only for himself,not for country,but for cricket.I really like the class of clarke.

  • Lmaotsetung on August 26, 2013, 7:24 GMT

    Why all the hearty congratulations to Clarke for setting what is in reality a pretty tough target to chase down (in test cricket terms)? Wasn't it not long ago that the great mighty India refused to chase 180 in similar number of overs against the West Indies? How many chases have been successful in the history of test cricket after sporting declaration, fixed matches not withstanding? Not many! It was brilliant batting by England and they showed when given even the slightest of opening they will go for it and grab it with both hands.

  • OZ_CRICKETLOVER on August 26, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Hats off PUP.. u r d bravest captain i have everseen

  • on August 26, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    I fully support Clarke... we need people like him to keep test cricket alive... I do not advocate "Safety First"... U play to win and no captain should ever think of drawing a test... if u want people to come & watch test cricket, then it demands a result.. So Clarke keep it going and I hope all other team learn this trait from Australia.. Remember world beating teams are made by winning matches, not by drawing them.

  • Bucky77 on August 26, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    Worthy gamble? Nonsense, the declaration added just one possible outcome to the game - an England win. That attack will never bowl out a test side in 40 overs. All he could hope to achieve was heaping further embarrassment on his team - what sort of "good captaincy" is that??

  • on August 26, 2013, 7:00 GMT

    hats off PUP.. u r d brave captain i have ever seen

  • on August 26, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    The vitriol heaped on Clarke is well aimed, the overs should have long since been bowled, he was slowing things down ludicrously to engineer the bad light situation. The Aussies were bowling their overs quite fast when they might win, they then started very obvious delaying tactics when they started losing. I don't have exact timings, but Watson and Faulkner who don't have particularly long runs were bowling I think around 11 overs an hour. In the past, the umpires stood up to this, even in this series when Broad tried to avoid another over before lunch, they played on beyond time, and the most obvious one was the England/Pakistan test where England won in the dark after Pakistan bowled 11 overs of spin an hour and the umpires ignored the fact that the fielders couldn't see the ball because of that.

  • Wallruss on August 26, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    "A few more runs on the board more quickly and a few more overs to bowl England out and Australia might almost have had a sniff of victory at The Oval"

    A few more wickets, lots more runs more quickly, Shane Warne, Glen McGrath, a weaker England team and Australia might almost have had a sniff of victory at The Oval

  • harry93 on August 26, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    Pudding, I see it as Clarke expecting consistency

  • on August 26, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    hats off to clarke!!..he has been doing that..brave declarations..and suddenly a dead rubber becomes interesting..eng didnt have the guts to go for a contest by declaring their innings early on..n dats y eng having abundance of talent are not able to win consistently..d mindset of not being afraid to lose..if it was not for clarke's declaration or kp's blitzkrieg we wouldnt have had such a exciting day..need such more entertaining cricket to keep test cricket going..

  • on August 26, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    Seriously? This is like saying that a few more runs in the first test( fifteen, to be precise) and a few more hours of sunshine in the third and Australia would have won the Ashes back!

  • on August 26, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    Aussies are not going to give up .they are goiung smash t20s and odi with a clean whitewash english boys.

    Kangaroos are going to scare lions in both the formats . Let see how they are going face the aussie pace.

  • eggyroe on August 26, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    Call me an old fashioned cynic if you like,but Clarke did not give anybody anything.He knew that when he declared at tea,he would have to bowl 44 overs and that would take the best part of 3 to 3.5 Hours.He also knew from his time in the field from Friday that the umpires had taken the players from the field at 7.20 for bad light.If England went for it and got close he could then slow things down and wait for nature to take its course.This is of course is what happened and what any fielding side would do,but I think the gesture was not a Public Relations exercise for the crowd but to deflect from the rather inept performances from his Australian Team over the period of the Ashes Series.

  • on August 26, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    hahahahahaha aggressive captaincy, then why he pushed the fielder back, England shown to Oz aggression can back fire you.............think before act...........they have shown how vindicated they are when started -ve bowling, respect for cook, who shown ashesh to their real value.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on August 26, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    This article gives the impression that the Australians deliberately bowled a few extra overs in Mohali earlier this year. The fact is, the Indians maintained an extraordinary over rate (they frequently bowled 16-17 overs an hours in that series), leaving the Aussies well over two hours to bowl those 27 overs. Fact is, the Australians were 0-2 down and had to win at all costs to keep the series alive. It isn't as if Clarke played extraordinarily positive cricket that day.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 26, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    firstly I have no problems with what happened however, i do find it hypocritical of Clarke to be pestering the umpires to go off with 4 overs left, when he was starting down defeat, yet was condemning the umpires at OT for taking them off.

    Had england been a little more forceful on Friday with the batting they may have won this, but that is all supposition,

  • Jezinho on August 26, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    4-0 defeat to India. 3-0 defeat to England. And suddenly he is the best captain? Right.

  • Sandt on August 26, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    I still don't understand why people are still saying Clarke has done a brave decision etc.Infact he has spoiled the fun of this test match in last hour by influencing umpires to call-off the match.This shows that he is not a competitive captain as claiming by Aus media and supporters.He is a good player but not a good captain or a player in the caliber of Ponting, Gilchrist, Hayden,Steve Waugh, border etc. These players have played like true champions when their team was in facing tough situations like currently Aus is in.What has Clarke done in this series as a batsman.If his other players are failing he should have stepped up and perform.He had only one hundred and 20's and 30's is not what a team wants from a captain especially when media and supporters claim him as world class captain and player.

  • on August 26, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    What difference does it make whether its 3-0 or 4-0, atleast Clarke tried to win, Cook and Co. played many times defensively in this series. England won the most of the crucial sessions otherwise series was good one, scoreline does not show the real picture. Among the current crop of players Clarke seems to be the only cricketer who has that Oz winning spirit.

  • on August 26, 2013, 4:02 GMT

    Admirable indeed! True Smith, Cook or even MSD might not have pushed for a win. I didnt know the Mohali scenario either. My respect for Clarke definitely went up.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 26, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    Hearty congratulations to Clarke for a brave attempt to muster out something for Australia. Other captains in his place would have played for the draw outright; England's Alastair Cook included. England could never boast of their splendid run chase if it wasn't for Clarke's bold declaration. Hopefully, Clarke can turn this Aussie team into a formidable one in the near future.

  • popcorn on August 26, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    What a gulf of difference to the approach of Delayer Cook and Enterprising Clarke! Between boring cricket Cook and attractive cricket Clarke!

  • on August 26, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    Saved by the light does not equate to √°lmost vindicated. As I saw it, the gambler lost and a losing gambler is a poor one.

  • humdrum on August 26, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    The champion aussie teams of yesteryears have always played to win,and clarke threw a fair challenge yesterday.Surely,england could not believe that they could be bowled out in a session and hence had the license to go after the runs.KP did the star turn for them,but for me,clarke took the honours.The percentages did not favour him by a mile,and even a die hard gambler would have thought twice in throwing down the gauntlet.What clarke did was to be bold and back himself. Fortune favours the brave,they say,and on this occasion,it almost did.

  • Lmaotsetung on August 26, 2013, 2:42 GMT

    To me it looks like Clarke underestimated the England batting thinking they'd go in their shell and he can apply scoreboard pressure to get wickets. That did not happened. In a way I believe he miscalculated the target he should have given England. In fact I would go on to say he didn't think Eng would be going at 4.5 to 5 runs an over from the get go and that took him by surprise. Ofcourse the inability of the aussie batsmen to play like their english counterpart contributed to the total that Clarke eventually set. 5.15 runs/over is massive in Test cricket. There are no field restrictions, no power play, no mandatory men in the circle, no leg side wides, etc. It's just that Eng batted superbly with a little help from Starc.

  • landl47 on August 26, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    It's easy to be a gambler when you have already lost. Merely losing by more isn't a big deal. Would Clarke have made the same declaration if he was 2-1 ahead in the series? Of course he wouldn't. Despite his bravado, Clarke was simply playing the percentages. A win would have been great for Aussie morale. A loss wouldn't have made it any worse. There's no way in the world he would have risked the series and he knows it.

    The sobering thing for Clarke and Australia is that today England played with initiative, took risks and would almost certainly have won if not for the light. That kicks away Aus's one hope- that England can't match them for aggression. Today England scored faster, took more wickets and dominated the play in all three sessions.

    The return series suddenly looks an even bigger mountain than Australia thought.

  • wellrounded87 on August 26, 2013, 2:10 GMT

    When it comes to personalities i cannot stand Clarke. But as a captain he should be commended. The game is after all completely reliant on it's fans and no one enjoys watching a team playing for a draw on Day 3.

    I still think test cricket needs some tweaking to eliminate draws. If a 4th innings has a minimum of 100 overs completed by stumps on Day 5 and the batting side is still short of the target this should be a victory for the other side. This will entice tactical declarations and positive cricket.Personally if you've set a target so large that it cannot be chased in 100 overs in the 4th innings you deserve to win the test match.

    No one likes a draw and with weather and this bad light farce it's extremely rare to have a series without at least 1 draw. When it should be the other way around.

  • on August 26, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    Hmm, I'm not convinced that they were in with much of a chance of a win. The last three wickets for England only fell long after the match was virtually safe, when they really were going at in full one-day mode. If the chase had been much more difficult England would have shut up shop after the first couple fell and there'd really have been no chance of a win for either side.

    All the same, it was good, chivalrous cricket by Clarke (slightly tainted by a few unseemly theatrics in the last few overs). And it did at least give his own side the chance to win, however slim.

  • on August 26, 2013, 2:01 GMT

    Hats off to Michael Clarke today, but if he'd lost, he might have been given an MBE and fast tracked into the English batting lineup where we need a number 6. What a great days cricket. Makes up for much of the rubbish we've also watched. Best sport on the planet without a shadow of a doubt, TEST and only test cricket.

  • DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on August 26, 2013, 1:53 GMT

    when clarke declared i thought draw could be the most possible result. Eng's ultra conservative approach in last few inn might have role to declare. But anyway intresting test.

  • on August 26, 2013, 1:26 GMT

    he is one of best player not captain.

  • RJHB on August 26, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    Admirable? Absolutely. A tad optimistic with this team? Definitely. It's the kind of attack at all cost attitude that Clarke became introduced to cricket with, during a time of dominance from the Aussies these talented but very conservative English and South African teams will only dream of emulating. At least India like to go balls out when they're batting, they're just hopeless in the field with a Dhoni captain! I take your point though, with a currently mediocre team, Clarke really should be slightly more conservative in his approach. Changing the batting order was a mistake and rarely works for quick runs. And that declaration was a tad generous to say the least!

  • Chris_P on August 26, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    Sorry Brydon, it may have been adventuresome, but in harsh reality, a declaration like this only meant only 2 results barring an unlikely collapse & that was either a draw or an English victory. It is a lot easier to shut up shop after losing wickets, (look at day 3 batting for a prime example). It may have been good for spectators, but that was it. I guess a little credit is due to England that they actually had a go, but they really had nothing to lose, they were never going to lose this. For the Aussie cricket enthusiasts, this took us back to the days of Tasmania winning the toss, sending oppositions in, dawdling in their batting & waiting for the opposition to set targets, which they managed to knock off quite regularly. I sat through Adelaide day 4 & 5 when SA batted out a draw, but when they had to, they could put the foot to the pedal, the same thing I am seriously doubting Cook's crew can do (Pieterson aside).

  • MrsBoycottsStickOfRhubarb on August 26, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    In fact I think that Clarke evidently needed quite a lot more runs and quite a lot more overs to seriously threaten England.

    Laudable tactics from Clarke to an extent, but as you point out in the article he really had nothing to lose. He wanted to go out on top, with England blocking delivery after delivery and the whole team around the bat. Try to contrast the victory celebrations which were inevitable at the end of the day's play with the feeling that positive Aussie were all over negative England, claiming the momentum along with the moral high ground.

    Thanks to KP and Trott, this kind of backfired, England rose to the challenge and Clarke resorted to instructing Watson to bowl 2 feet outside leg and to plead with the umpires to take a light reading.

    Strong finish from England, Aussie threw down the gauntlet and England were up to the challenge.

  • Jayzuz on August 25, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    Good on Clarke for giving fans on both sides something to stay excited about. As I mentioned elsewhere however, boldness isn't always rewarded. They nearly lost here. The booing by English fans was puzzling indeed, given that Clarke was the only reason England were in with a chance to win the game. But I did notice that the Oval crowd were the most one-eyed of all the crowds in the series - almost like an Indian crowd, in that they were very slow to applaud any good play by the opposition.

    Let's give credit where it is due. So thanks Clarkey for saving the series from a mediocre finale - and a medicare finish is precisely what England had planned from stumps on the very first day.

  • jmcilhinney on August 25, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    It's certainly true that the crowd at The Oval witnessed quite a spectacle and one that wouldn't have been possible without Michael Clarke's declaration; a declaration that many other captains wouldn't have made. Let's be realistic though: Clarke didn't do it for the crowd. If he had then he wouldn't have been foaming at the mouth to get off for bad light when the crowd obviously wanted those last four overs bowled. People like Shane Warne can say what they like but the crowd being entertained was merely a happy side-effect, not the aim of the exercise. Just like Alistair Cook and England, Clarke and Australia are just professional sportsmen playing their sport in the manner that they think gives their team the best chance of the best result possible.

  • jmcilhinney on August 25, 2013, 23:50 GMT

    I don't think that the author of the story on this site writes the title so I won't hold Brydon Coverdale responsible for rather exaggerated headline. You can think that Clarke's decision to risk a loss to push for a win was a good idea or a bad one but the outcome didn't come close to vindicating it. In the end, Australia were saved by the light because England were probably a 95% or better chance of making the remaining runs. Sure, they only needed saving because they put themselves in harm's way but that doesn't make it any less the case. While the difference between 3-0 and 4-0 may not matter in the grand scheme of things, had Australia lost this game, I'm quite sure that there would be those who, given time, would start to think that maybe Clarke was reckless. As it is, Trott and KP have been played into form and England finish the series knowing that their last innings was significantly better than Australia's and they didn't even have to touch their batting order.

  • SDHM on August 25, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    Sorry, can't buy into this. Take all the 'moral' victories you want, but doesn't the byline sum it up? It was a token gesture from Clarke; point scoring, smoke & mirrors, one last attempt to show his derring do in contrast to boring boring England. He never expected to take the wickets (and who would expect to get 10 in 44 overs? Not criticising him for that at all), but, more importantly, I don't think he expected England to go for the runs. They came at him, and he baulked. His behaviour towards the end (and his defensive fields long before the chase had even begun in earnest - he had a couple of boundary riders as early as the fourth over) showed that; he lost it, basically, and started using the same tactics that were roundly criticised when England employed them at Old Trafford as well as arguing with the umpires. Take off your rose-tinted specs.

  • nareshgb1 on August 25, 2013, 22:55 GMT

    "Dismissing a team in one session is a remarkable goal but that Australia attempted it in search of that elusive win was in many ways admirable. "

    COME ON NOW - its not like Clarke had Garner, Ambrose, Marshall and O-Reilly on loan bowling for him (and in their prime of course). This was clearly an attempt to score some brownie points - going on from Faulkner's comments (which was nothing but a vent opening for the bottled up frustration) and an opportunity to talk up thre return Ashes contest and say "England are negative and will get clobbered down under".

    I am surprised we are seeing such naive commentary from all and sundry about the gambler captain and so on. He had NOTHING to gamble - nothing to lose (and he seems to have said so)

    England know their game, they know their limits and they played superbly within them. As for Australia, they were just lucky that (for example) Harris did not get injured in this meaningless quest

  • PFEL on August 25, 2013, 22:49 GMT

    Absolute superstar Michael Clarke. His and Australia's luck will turn around, it's inevitable.

  • Kula_Bowls_Inswing on August 25, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    Whatever his qualities as a captain, Clarke bottled it today.

  • Kula_Bowls_Inswing on August 25, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    Whatever his qualities as a captain, Clarke bottled it today.

  • PFEL on August 25, 2013, 22:49 GMT

    Absolute superstar Michael Clarke. His and Australia's luck will turn around, it's inevitable.

  • nareshgb1 on August 25, 2013, 22:55 GMT

    "Dismissing a team in one session is a remarkable goal but that Australia attempted it in search of that elusive win was in many ways admirable. "

    COME ON NOW - its not like Clarke had Garner, Ambrose, Marshall and O-Reilly on loan bowling for him (and in their prime of course). This was clearly an attempt to score some brownie points - going on from Faulkner's comments (which was nothing but a vent opening for the bottled up frustration) and an opportunity to talk up thre return Ashes contest and say "England are negative and will get clobbered down under".

    I am surprised we are seeing such naive commentary from all and sundry about the gambler captain and so on. He had NOTHING to gamble - nothing to lose (and he seems to have said so)

    England know their game, they know their limits and they played superbly within them. As for Australia, they were just lucky that (for example) Harris did not get injured in this meaningless quest

  • SDHM on August 25, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    Sorry, can't buy into this. Take all the 'moral' victories you want, but doesn't the byline sum it up? It was a token gesture from Clarke; point scoring, smoke & mirrors, one last attempt to show his derring do in contrast to boring boring England. He never expected to take the wickets (and who would expect to get 10 in 44 overs? Not criticising him for that at all), but, more importantly, I don't think he expected England to go for the runs. They came at him, and he baulked. His behaviour towards the end (and his defensive fields long before the chase had even begun in earnest - he had a couple of boundary riders as early as the fourth over) showed that; he lost it, basically, and started using the same tactics that were roundly criticised when England employed them at Old Trafford as well as arguing with the umpires. Take off your rose-tinted specs.

  • jmcilhinney on August 25, 2013, 23:50 GMT

    I don't think that the author of the story on this site writes the title so I won't hold Brydon Coverdale responsible for rather exaggerated headline. You can think that Clarke's decision to risk a loss to push for a win was a good idea or a bad one but the outcome didn't come close to vindicating it. In the end, Australia were saved by the light because England were probably a 95% or better chance of making the remaining runs. Sure, they only needed saving because they put themselves in harm's way but that doesn't make it any less the case. While the difference between 3-0 and 4-0 may not matter in the grand scheme of things, had Australia lost this game, I'm quite sure that there would be those who, given time, would start to think that maybe Clarke was reckless. As it is, Trott and KP have been played into form and England finish the series knowing that their last innings was significantly better than Australia's and they didn't even have to touch their batting order.

  • jmcilhinney on August 25, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    It's certainly true that the crowd at The Oval witnessed quite a spectacle and one that wouldn't have been possible without Michael Clarke's declaration; a declaration that many other captains wouldn't have made. Let's be realistic though: Clarke didn't do it for the crowd. If he had then he wouldn't have been foaming at the mouth to get off for bad light when the crowd obviously wanted those last four overs bowled. People like Shane Warne can say what they like but the crowd being entertained was merely a happy side-effect, not the aim of the exercise. Just like Alistair Cook and England, Clarke and Australia are just professional sportsmen playing their sport in the manner that they think gives their team the best chance of the best result possible.

  • Jayzuz on August 25, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    Good on Clarke for giving fans on both sides something to stay excited about. As I mentioned elsewhere however, boldness isn't always rewarded. They nearly lost here. The booing by English fans was puzzling indeed, given that Clarke was the only reason England were in with a chance to win the game. But I did notice that the Oval crowd were the most one-eyed of all the crowds in the series - almost like an Indian crowd, in that they were very slow to applaud any good play by the opposition.

    Let's give credit where it is due. So thanks Clarkey for saving the series from a mediocre finale - and a medicare finish is precisely what England had planned from stumps on the very first day.

  • MrsBoycottsStickOfRhubarb on August 26, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    In fact I think that Clarke evidently needed quite a lot more runs and quite a lot more overs to seriously threaten England.

    Laudable tactics from Clarke to an extent, but as you point out in the article he really had nothing to lose. He wanted to go out on top, with England blocking delivery after delivery and the whole team around the bat. Try to contrast the victory celebrations which were inevitable at the end of the day's play with the feeling that positive Aussie were all over negative England, claiming the momentum along with the moral high ground.

    Thanks to KP and Trott, this kind of backfired, England rose to the challenge and Clarke resorted to instructing Watson to bowl 2 feet outside leg and to plead with the umpires to take a light reading.

    Strong finish from England, Aussie threw down the gauntlet and England were up to the challenge.

  • Chris_P on August 26, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    Sorry Brydon, it may have been adventuresome, but in harsh reality, a declaration like this only meant only 2 results barring an unlikely collapse & that was either a draw or an English victory. It is a lot easier to shut up shop after losing wickets, (look at day 3 batting for a prime example). It may have been good for spectators, but that was it. I guess a little credit is due to England that they actually had a go, but they really had nothing to lose, they were never going to lose this. For the Aussie cricket enthusiasts, this took us back to the days of Tasmania winning the toss, sending oppositions in, dawdling in their batting & waiting for the opposition to set targets, which they managed to knock off quite regularly. I sat through Adelaide day 4 & 5 when SA batted out a draw, but when they had to, they could put the foot to the pedal, the same thing I am seriously doubting Cook's crew can do (Pieterson aside).

  • RJHB on August 26, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    Admirable? Absolutely. A tad optimistic with this team? Definitely. It's the kind of attack at all cost attitude that Clarke became introduced to cricket with, during a time of dominance from the Aussies these talented but very conservative English and South African teams will only dream of emulating. At least India like to go balls out when they're batting, they're just hopeless in the field with a Dhoni captain! I take your point though, with a currently mediocre team, Clarke really should be slightly more conservative in his approach. Changing the batting order was a mistake and rarely works for quick runs. And that declaration was a tad generous to say the least!