Aus look for return to form

2010-11-01 10:02
Michael Clarke (AFP)

Perth - Australia will look to this week's three match one-day international series with Sri Lanka to rediscover winning form ahead of the Ashes, senior batsman Michael Clarke said on Monday.

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In a worrying lapse in form ahead of this month's opening Ashes Test against England, Australia's losing run in all forms of the game continued when Sri Lanka romped to a seven-wicket Twenty20 victory in Perth on Sunday.

It was Australia's fourth straight T20 defeat, coming on top of their three-Test losing streak to slide to fifth on the Test rankings.

Australia open their one-day series against Sri Lanka in Melbourne on Wednesday and Test vice-captain Clarke said it was imperative for the team to quickly build some winning momentum.

"You want to win every game you play, in all three forms of the game," Clarke told reporters.

"I was told we had won 10 out of 10 in this form of the game (T20) in Australia, so it was disappointing to lose our first T20 game in Australia.

"It is important that we play good cricket and win these games against Sri Lanka to build momentum into the Test series against England.

"We need to improve, there is no doubt about it.

"We are not getting the results we would like in all three forms and we need to get better and keep working on our game, individually and as a team and keep working on the areas that aren't as good as they need to be."

Clarke, under pressure to retain his spot in the Australian T20 side, promoted himself to open Australia's batting on Sunday but made just 16 as his lean run in T20 cricket continued. He is averaging just over 20 in T20 internationals.

David Warner (2), Shane Watson (4), David Hussey (7) and Cameron White (8) also failed as Australia struggled to 133 for eight, with Steve Smith (34 off 23) and Brad Haddin (35 off 30) preventing an embarrassing total.

In reply, Sri Lanka cruised to the victory target with 21 balls remaining after a 71-run stand between Tillakaratne Dilshan (41 off 34) and Kumar Sangakkara (44 off 43).

Clarke stood by his decision to open in place of Watson.

"I thought it was the right decision for the team," he said.

"I made that decision, unfortunately we didn't score enough runs."

Sri Lanka captain Sangakkara said it was difficult to read too much into Australia's lacklustre performance.

"We've got to see how we progress in the one-day series as well, we've got to start from scratch," he said.

"That strength at home, that's the challenge for visiting sides to try to take that away from Australia ... it's a great challenge."

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