Ashes

Clarke: 'I need to contribute'

2015-07-31 19:38
Michael Clarke (Getty)

Birmingham - Australia captain Michael Clarke said his side had been "playing with 10 players" as his lean spell with the bat continued during an eight-wicket defeat by England in the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

There were several worrying aspects for Australia as they were well-beaten inside three days on Friday by a revived England team, who bounced back from their own humiliating 405-run loss in the second Test at Lord's to go 2-1 up in the five-match series.

A particular concern is the form of the 34-year-old Clarke, one of the outstanding batsmen of his era.

But in his past 28 Test innings, Clarke has reached 25 just six times.

His run of low totals continued at Edgbaston, with innings of 10 and three seeing his average dip below 50 - a mark that is considered a sign of an all-time great.

Other batsmen in and around number four Clarke, such as Adam Voges, are also struggling.

But Clarke tried to take the pressure off his team-mates by telling Sky Sports: "The form of number four certainly concerns me.

"We've been playing with 10 players and the captain's got to come off the plane and contribute.

"England deserve credit, they've bowled well to me and found a way to get me out early in my innings."

England captain Alastair Cook had a measure of sympathy for his Australian counterpart.

"I'm sure he'll come through at some stage but hopefully not in the next couple of games," he said.

- Bell class -

Someone back in the runs at Edgbaston was England's Ian Bell.

There had been speculation that Bell, who had been struggling to impose himself on this series, might be dropped for the third Test.

But he was promoted to number three instead, with Gary Ballance axed.

Bell, on his Warwickshire home ground, responded with a first-innings 53 and then made an unbeaten 65 on Friday to see England to victory as they chased down a modest target of 121 for the loss of two wickets.

"We have to remember class is permanent," Cook said.

"He's had a tough few games but you've got to keep backing the right horses and Ian Bell is certainly one of them."

Read more on:    ashes  |  michael clarke  |  cricket
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