Ashes 2013: Don’t laugh, we can still win the series, insists captain Michael Clarke

 

Lord's

As if a 347-run thrashing by England were not enough, Cricket Australia found themselves on Sunday having to respond to further remarks from the coach they sacked, Mickey Arthur, and to quell the storm created by derogatory tweets, credited to David Warner’s brother, about opening batsman Shane Watson.

England’s problems are minor by comparison. They are not certain whether Kevin Pietersen, who has a calf strain, will be fit for the Third Investec Test at Old Trafford, which starts on 1 August, but they appear well-equipped to cope in his absence.

After six successive Test defeats, Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, was asked whether he would emulate Kim Hughes and resign in tears. “I presume that won’t happen,” said his inquisitor. “Presume nothing!” replied Clarke, but with a smile that suggested he was not about to follow this course of action.

“Our performance with the bat in the first innings (when Australia were bowled out for 128) was unacceptable,” Clarke admitted. “Our shot selection was poor and we didn’t have the discipline England had.

“I’m still confident we can win the series. I heard a lot of the crowd laugh when I said that at the post-match presentation, and rightly so from where I sit today. England have outplayed us.

“I never like losing, that’s for sure. It’s been extremely tough to take whenever I have been part of a team who have lost, and I take it more personally when I am captain. We had a great chance after bowling England out for 361 in the first innings and we let ourselves down.

“There will be times where you feel comfortable and times where the opposition bowl well and you have to respect that and back your defence. We haven’t done that with the bat.

“We have to acknowledge that we are not performing as well as we would like. There are so many people who are supporting us and we have let them down.”

The difficulties away from the Ashes series continue. Arthur, sacked 16 days before the series started, is seeking compensation from Cricket Australia and said today he had “no option” but to act this way. The board responded: “We are confident in our legal position.”

Warner, meanwhile, is currently with the Australia A tour of southern Africa but he was involved in another controversy. After dismissive remarks about Watson were attributed to his brother’s Twitter account, a second CA statement, made on Warner’s behalf, read: “Earlier this week, my brother Steven Warner published a Tweet about Shane Watson. Like everyone, he is entitled to his opinions but I want to state categorically that I do not endorse his comments and fully support Shane and all my team-mates.”

For Alastair Cook, life is far rosier. England lead 2-0 in the Ashes for the first time since 1986-87. He said: “Can we win 5-0? I don’t know about that. Hopefully. It’s a winning habit. We’ve played four Tests this summer and we have four wins. Good place to be. We’re not taking anything for granted or taking our foot off the gas.”

Joe Root was man of the match for his 180 in the second innings, and the wickets of Clarke and Usman Khawaja yesterday afternoon.

If Pietersen is unfit, Cook will feel reassured with century-makers Root and Ian Bell, in such fine form.

“Kevin is a concern,” said Cook. “He has a slight strain of his calf, and we will work non-stop to try to get him ready for Old Trafford. Hopefully he will be fit. It leaves a big hole if he’s not there but gives someone else a chance to step up.

“Joe Root has the right character for international cricket, as well as the technique. He is nowhere near the finished article but he is doing a difficult job very well.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
science
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links