Sunday, July 22, 2012

Clarke is crestfallen

The rain set the mood for a miserable night in Manchester and not even the dark clouds could provide cover for a crestfallen Michael Clarke.

The scaffolding set against one of the ends was, in the end, apt too given that Clarke and coach Mickey Arthur must now set about their own rebuilding work ahead of The Ashes 2013.

A seven-wicket win at Old Trafford was England's 10th straight ODI win and moved them up to third in the world rankings. Australia remain at the summit but look anything like a world number one side.

For Clarke and his peers to chew over, cricket bets and stats will tell you that it was the heaviest defeat of an Australian ODI side in any bilateral series in the 41-year history of limited overs internationals.

Far from the duck the issue, Clarke suggested the nature of the defeat was not a surprise and felt they had scraped by against Sri Lanka and India in the Australian summer and, more recently, against West Indies.

He refused to draw any parallels made by many who bet on Australian cricket with the Test side and added defeat by England was "a reminder, not a wake-up call".

Arthur said the NatWest series would provide the perfect platform for some of his fringe players to make a marker but questions must now be asked about the immediate futures of the likes of Peter Forrest and Steve Smith.

The form of Tasmanian top order batsman George Bailey – a 65 at The Oval and 49 not out at Old Trafford - was a rare highlight but the team as a whole must find a way to win – and quick.

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