|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2013|
DateLine: 20th August 2013
By Andy Jalil at The Oval.
In association with INVESTEC.
London Ė Despite being three nil down in the five Test Ashes series, Australia captain Michael Clarke said his players are still confident and determined in their aim of achieving a win in the final Investec Test commencing today. Their record on this ground doesnít show much in their favour having lost 16 and won only 6 of their previous Tests, while 13 matches have been drawn.
Quite clearly, in this series, the lack of big totals in the touristsí innings has been a major problem. Chris Rogers has been an exception and apart from one brilliant innings of 187 from Clarke there have only been the occasional reasonably good innings from a couple batsmen. The one spot, at No. 3, which has always been regarded as vital in any side, has remained a problem to fill since it was vacated by the retired Ricky Ponting.
Clarke said: ďEvery Test we play for Australia we want to win, we donít need any extra motivation than that. It (winning) would be a nice way to finish the Test side of the tour. We need to go out and play like we did in Manchester (where rain on the last day spoilt Australiaís chances of victory when they were clearly headed that way). If we continue to play that style and brand of cricket we can beat any team in the world in any condition.Ē
Australia have made two changes from the side that lost the fourth Test by 74 runs. Batsman Usman Khawaja has been replaced by all-rounder James Faulkner to make his Test debut and Mitchell Starc, pace bowler, replaces another, Jackson Bird.
Clarke added: ďI have thought long and hard about what has occurred so far in the series as I did after the Indian series (where they lost their previous series). I feel my game personally has a lot of improvement left in it. I feel I can help the team have success, thatís a big part of my role as a senior player whether I am captain or not. But itís a tough challenge as a captain if you donít get the result you want and this inspires you to become better as a player and better as a leader.Ē
England captain, Alastair Cook, has little worry with England having retained the Ďlittle irní and won their third successive Ashes series. His own batting form though, by his high standards, has not been particularly good as he has not had a three-figure innings in the series as yet although he has hit three fifties. Asked about it he said: ďI have given my batting just as much attention as I did when I wasnít captain. So that is not why I havenít scored the runs Iíd like to have done in the series.Ē
He went on to say: ďItís the natural ebb and flow of form, things havenít been quite as big this summer as they have been the last couple of years. All I can do is know our record suggests that Iíll score runs, Iíve done that in the past, I am hammering my basics, Iím doing the good stuff. Itís just a matter of time hopefully before it turns and I get a little bit of luck which you always need at the top of the order."
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)