England v Australia, 2nd NatWest ODI, Old Trafford September 8, 2013

Clarke relieved to secure first win on tour


Given the end-of-term atmosphere that permeates any limited overs series to follow an Ashes contest, it would be quite the embellishment to say Michael Clarke basked in Australia's 88-run victory over England at Old Trafford. But there was certainly some relief evident in Clarke, for this was the first significant international win he had been part of since early February, and the first he has taken part in against England on a tour that began four months and three Prime Ministers ago.

As results go, the Manchester margin was handsome, hurried along by a grand partnership between Clarke and his deputy George Bailey that pushed the tourists to 315 for 7, then secured by an even bowling display in which Mitchell Johnson was particularly menacing and everyone contributed at least one wicket. In a year largely barren of Australian success away from home, the win in Manchester will help establish the winning habit Clarke spoke of in the aftermath.

"Winning's always pleasing and that's one thing I've emphasised to the Test boys but also the one-day guys," Clarke said. "Sometimes it might not look pretty or feel great, but if you get over the line and get that winning feeling it's a nice side of the fence to be on.

"In the Test matches we showed in patches some really good cricket. Our performance today was a good start, but we won't take anything for granted and I won't look too far ahead, but I think at the end of the day it's nice to have won a game against England on this tour.

"It was nice to contribute, I'd like to play every Test and one-dayer at Manchester, I seem to score runs here. It's about trying to help the team win and fortunately today I played my part. But everybody contributed today. There's still three important games to go but it's a nice feeling to be sitting here having won the first one of this series."

Surmising what his men had to do for the rest of the series, Clarke said the posting of a high total that increased the element of risk for England's batsmen was significant, as was the plucking of regular wickets to ensure that no partnerships could be established. "England have got a lot of destructive players," he said. "So I think for us taking wickets was crucial throughout our bowling innings, and batting as well as we could to set a target to make England take risks is something we're going to have to continue to do throughout this series.

"I wasn't surprised by their team or that they bowled first, I think they've been doing that a lot in the shorter form of the game for a while now. We've got to make sure we keep working to get better because England will get better than today."

Eoin Morgan, England's stand-in captain, certainly hopes so, and conceded his bowlers had allowed Australia around 40 runs too many on a dry, slowish Old Trafford strip. "It was probably more of a 275 type of pitch," Morgan said. "It was hard when you got in but when you developed a partnership you found yourself without any effort going at five or six an over. Today we lost wickets through the whole innings. They played particularly well and put our bowlers under a lot of pressure."

James Tredwell was notably targeted by Australia's batsmen, his usually efficient and tidy 10-over spell ended two overs short of that quota by Morgan, having already conceded 60. "It did make it difficult yeah," Morgan said. "He's a fantastic bowler and been a great performer, in the Champions Trophy he was one of the best bowlers in the tournament. Because they kept coming there was a feeling that he would create an opportunity to take a wicket, so it worked both ways. We ended up getting Finch because they played so hard, and I don't have to tell you how good Michael Clarke is at playing spin."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shanmugam on September 10, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    @Chris_P, Some of these kids are too young and so they are not aware of the Ashes legacy. Some seem to imply that the Ashes, except 2005, has often been a contest between a good side and a very poor side. It was indeed the case from 1989-2003 when it appeared that all Aus. had to do to win the Ashes was to simply turn up. The 2005 Ashes was obviously very evenly contested but 2009 was quiet evenly contested too and in fact Aus. were dominant for the most part but Eng. won the key contests and the series. This summer was very evenly contested despite the 3-0 result. And, of course, the 1981 series which will remain one of my favorites ever.

  • Shanmugam on September 10, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    @Chris_P, yes, I should have said I would trade significantly more # of ODI wins for 1 Ashes test win. I really don't understand why this should irritate some SC fans. They are free to rate the WC as the most prestigious tournament. What they like need not apply to us. @Srini_Chennai's post seems to imply that very few people celebrate the Ashes and the majority prefer the WC, hence it should be the most important tournament for everyone. Nah, it doesn't work that way. It may well be the case that more people follow the WC but what could be his/her concern if some people continue to rate Ashes wins over WC? For him/her, WC is the most prestigious tournament. For us, it is the Ashes. Simply really. And, yes, we are well aware that the Ashes is played only between 2 countries. It would still be the choice for some of us.

  • Peter on September 10, 2013, 0:37 GMT

    @Shan156. Only 10 Ashes tests? I think some significant more is closer to the mark. I guess the significance of Ashes contests can only be put in context by the fans of both countries. Even when we were trampling over every side & England was at a place they weren't enjoying, packed grounds in both countries showed the appreciation of the contests. Packed grounds for Test matches, something that doesn't get experienced by other countries any more, so that is probably the intrigue of the posts.

  • Shanmugam on September 9, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    @milepost, no excuses. Aus. beat us fair and square. It doesn't matter if we were missing Jimmy, Swann, Cook, Bell or XYZ. It was a thumping win for Aus. and must be a good morale booster for them, especially Clarke. What some Eng. fans post here is how little important this series is for them when compared to the Ashes. Any defeat hurts but I would trade 10 ODI defeats, probably more, for one test win, especially if it is the Ashes.

    Again, that cannot take anything away from Aus. They were superior to England in all respects and were deserving winners.

  • H on September 9, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    @milepost on (September 9, 2013, 7:01 GMT) It was definitely a weakened team, but as several others have said, Australia can only beat what's put in front of them. Australia are by no means a poor one day side (nor are they as bad a Test side as the Ashes scoreline suggested either, but that's neither here nor there) and for us to put out such a weak side was complete and utter disrespect. We deserve what we got, and maybe next time the selectors will learn that even when you're trying to rest players (and I have no issue with a bit of resting, especially with bowlers) you need to balance that with putting out a side capable of winning. We didn't.

    I actually reckon both Bailey and Mitch should be in the Test side come the Gabba. Australia ideally want a 6-1-4 split, and I'd give Bailey a go at 6 (he's got the right mentality, very gritty) while Harris, Siddle and Lyon are so consistent that you can afford a "strike" bowler like Mitch who, when he's hot, can dismantle a team.

  • Peter on September 9, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    @popcorn. "George Bailey is a consistent performer & should be in the test side." Really? I wonder if his 256 runs @ 18.26 in our last first class season should be ignored then? Efforts like that in first class mnatces will have the English bowlers shivering in fear at nights. If & when Bailey or any other batsman performs on the first class arena, then & only then should they earn their cap, not by performing in meaningless one day matches.

  • Philip on September 9, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson seems to have a knack of delivering when it is needed. His bowling performance that set the stage for the OZ to take control was absolutely terrific.

    The OZ are by no means a dodgy one day side. To have underestimated them on their performance at Tests was telling. Very bad judgement indeed.

  • Dummy4 on September 9, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    @Steve Back - Quite right sir, I thank you for your correction. Maybe I meant metaphorically? :)

  • Srinivasan on September 9, 2013, 10:55 GMT

    @salazar555: 'Many in England' is not even 5% of cricket watching population. If "Many in England" doesn't value ODI cricket, it doesn't change the fact that World cup is the most prestigious tournament in cricket ever. Nobody cares about how England treats ODI cricket, it is loved in sub-continent, SA , WI, NZ. That's all it matters. I don't know how you say that ODI cricket will die considering the full houses in every country including England except maybe in Australia.

  • Dummy4 on September 9, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    @ Dangertroy: England isn't an island, fellow. Great Britain is.