Ashes 2013: Australia captain Michael Clarke admits axing of Nick Compton came as a surprise

The England batsman was dropped after a couple of poor performances against New Zealand

Australia captain Michael Clarke has warned England they may have erred by axing Nick Compton for the Ashes.

The hosts acted ruthlessly by dropping Compton for the first Investec Test, a call apparently based on two stuttering performances against New Zealand at the start of the summer.

Joe Root will open when the series gets under way at Trent Bridge tomorrow, with fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow slotting into the middle order, a decision that left Compton to claim he had "not been given a fair crack of the whip" after nine appearances.

He played in both of Australia's pre-Test warm-ups, first for employers Somerset and then on a one-off basis for Worcestershire, scoring 220 runs at 55 but was still not reprieved - a decision that left Clarke surprised.

"We haven't bowled to Joe yet, but we didn't manage to get Nick out that easily, so I'm happy he's not playing, to be honest," said Clarke.

"I think Nick showed over the last couple of four-day matches that he's got a lot of class; he's got a very good defence and I'm surprised he's not in the first Test team for England."

Australia may find their own chosen XI raises eyebrows if they opt to let David Warner loose in the middle order.

Less than a month ago Warner was fined £7,000 and banned up until the start of the Ashes having punched Root in a Birmingham bar hours after England's 48-run win in the Champions Trophy.

At the time his whole tour seemed in doubt, with most observers deeming the first Test a near impossibility given a lack of match practice.

But the arrival of Darren Lehmann as coach has seen a sea change and noises from within the camp are that Warner would be welcomed in the first XI this week.

Clarke, no longer a selector since stepping down two weeks ago, backed Warner but gave no hints as to how Australia would line up.

"Obviously he hasn't played any four-day cricket, but if David is selected I'm confident he'll have success. I'm as convinced as I can be," he said.

"I can tell you I do know the 11 that are playing tomorrow, but at this stage we're not going to announce the team.

"To me, the most important people that need to know what the XI is know, and that's the players, so they can prepare mentally. But in regards to everybody else, one more sleep's not going to hurt anybody I wouldn't have thought."

Warner's chief rival would appear to be Steve Smith, but it would be possible to accommodate both if Ed Cowan lost his place in the top three.

The only other question surrounds the third seamer, with Peter Siddle thought to be marginally ahead of Jackson Bird and Ryan Harris.

Clarke was grilled on a variety of subjects on the eve of the match, from the state of his back, to the role of reverse swing and even the impact of Andy Murray's Wimbledon win on the series.

He answered everything courteously, but left little doubt that the time for debate was over.

"We've talked about a lot but I think the talking is done for us as a team now," he said.

"Our preparation's finished. Our team meetings are done. Our knowledge on the England team is done. Now, as I said to the guys last night, it's not what you say, it's what you do."

PA

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?