LONDON: Michael Clarke vowed to have the last laugh on all those who mocked his suggestion Australia could still win the Ashes after a crushing defeat at Lord’s left them 2-0 down in the five-match series.
Ashes-holders England thrashed their archrivals by 347 runs at ‘the home of cricket’ on Sunday, with over a day left, to strengthen their grip on the urn.
Australia’s main problem, as it was in a far narrower 14-run reverse in the first Test at Trent Bridge, was a lack of runs from their specialist batsmen.
Whereas England built competitive totals in both innings at Lord’s on the back of hundreds by Ian Bell (109) and man-of-the-match Joe Root (180), the highest individual Australia score was Usman Khawaja’s second-innings 54.
By then, Australia had been left to chase a colossal 583 after being bowled out for just 128 first time around.
Clarke, Australia’s best batsman and a proven world-class performer, made 51 on Sunday but that only took his average for the series to 25.50, with none of the tourists having made an individual hundred in the first two Tests.
Clarke confident of series win
However, despite the weight of history against him, Clarke said, “I’m still confident we can win this series.
“I know the crowd laughed when I said that, and rightly so with the position we are in right now, but all of our top order have made a fifty and we need someone who can go on and make a big hundred.
“We need to perform better to win the third Test but we have time to prepare,” added Clarke, with Australia set to play a match against Sussex starting Friday before facing England at Old Trafford, where the next Test gets underway on August 1. “Our performance with the bat was unacceptable. The shot selection was poor and we didn’t have the discipline.”
Root’s ‘character’ delights Cook
On the other hand, England captain Alastair Cook hailed Joe Root’s ‘character’ as he did his best to keep a lid on expectations of a 5-0 Ashes rout.
“We’ve seen over his very short career what an outstanding player he is,” said Cook. “He’s got the right character. It’s a lot about technique but he has the right character to succeed at Test cricket.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.
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