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Posts Tagged ‘michael clarke’

India are hosting Australia for a seven-match ODI series, which normally would have been hyped for weeks (if not months) in advance, but the Ashes (and its attendent ODIs) blurred into the Champions Trophy which blurred into the Twenty20 Champions League which only finished yesterday, so it’s almost as if the series has crept up on both sides.

For India, the headline news is the return of Virender Sehwag and the injury worries over Yuvraj, but it’s the bowling attack which is arguably under pressure after a poor run of late. Munaf Patel returns to give the seam bowling a little more control, whilst the pressure is mounting on Harbhajan to shrug off his recent slump and return to the form he showed before the Champions Trophy.

For Australia, there are fewer concerns, although the absence of Michael Clarke will probably necessitate some tinkering with the batting order. Most of the side will be familiar with Indian conditions through IPL and more recently Champions League experience, although the fatigue factor after exertions in the latter may come into play with regard to the likes of Brett Lee.

Although those Aussies who played for NSW in the Champions League will be a little on the tired side, I would expect Australia to have the upper hand in the series unless India significantly up their game. The hosts’ poor showing at the Champions Trophy has cast doubt on their ambitions to be the worlds’ best.

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Marcus North has made quite an impact in his first outing as a Baggy Green. Australia are in the market for new heroes at the moment, given their recent slip from the heights of invincibility, and North seems to fit the bill.

The last player to make a century on debut for Australia was Michael Clarke back in 2004, and in the years since, the side has been arguably at its least stable for some considerable time. A batsman of North’s ability lower down the order, combined with some promising batting from Mitchell Johnson, will help the Aussies cope without feeling the need to have Andrew Symonds in the side if his non-cricketing issues aren’t resolved in time for the Ashes.

Australia are evidently going to be tougher to beat for South Africa the second time around.

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Australia, fresh from being deposed as the best ODI team in the world by South Africa, have the chance to take out their frustrations on New Zealand (as happened with the Test series back in November, which followed the Aussies’ defeat in India). The hosts have the opportunity to immediately regain top spot in the rankings with victory in the First ODI against the Black Caps, which will add further incentive for an immediate return to form.

It’s likely that Australia’s openers will be Marsh and Warner, with Michael Clarke batting at number four, but the batting order is more fluid (and less certain) than it has been for some time.

If New Zealand were feeling confident about Australia’s vulnerability, their warm-up defeat to the Prime Minister’s XI on Thursday will have left them in no doubt that they will be the clear underdogs. The rebuilding of the team under Andy Moles is still in its early stages, although there were some promising signs during the rain-affected series against the West Indies.

The tourists may have to make do without Brendon McCullum the wicketkeeper, although he is apparently fit enough to bat. Much, as ever, depends on Vettori.

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David Warner, fresh from his Twenty20 exploits, has been called into the One-Day side for Sunday’s match, following the failure of Michael Clarke to recover from injury.

Warner was briefly discarded by Australia’s selectors when it appeared that Clarke had recovered, but now the young NSWelshman may be given the opportunity to open the batting for the Aussies with Shaun Marsh, a position which is yet to be permanently filled since it was occupied by Matthew Hayden. If Warner makes a decent score, then his name could be added to the list of possible contenders to replace Hayden in the long term.

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The brief interlude of the two Twenty20 matches between the Test series and the ODIs, combined with the absence of Graeme Smith, seems to have taken the wind out of South Africa’s sails a little. As well as the two defeats, stand-in captain Johan Botha also has the headache of slow over rates to deal with – he was fined 10% of his match fee on Tuesday for Saffer tardiness in the field.

Botha can at least console himself with the knowledge that AB deVilliers and Jacques Kallis have both recovered from the injuries which kept them out of the second Twenty20 match, and with the good form of JP Duminy, who’ll be looking to make some big scores following a disappointing ODI series in England.

Australia, meanwhile, are brimming with regained confidence in the shorter form, and will be looking to capitalise on their Twenty20 success as the series moves on to 50-over matches. The two teams haven’t actually met in an ODI since the last World Cup, and Australia’s last defeat to South Africa was the celebrated run-fest in Johannesburg, when even 434/4 from 50 overs wasn’t enough to secure victory for the Aussies.

The most interesting sub-plot in the ODI series is the question of who will open the batting for Australia alongside Shaun Marsh. Michael Clarke is a strong possibility, as is James Hopes, but it’s also possible that someone could come out of left field to make the slot their own.

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The first day of the long-awaited series between Australia and South Africa promised drama, and on that score it didn’t disappoint. The home side, having won the toss, found themselves languishing at 15/3, but Simon Katich and Michael Clarke, and then Andrew Symonds and Brad Haddin, battled back to leave the Aussies on a decent 341/9 at the close of play.

South Africa’s bowling attack has been much praised in the build-up to this Test, and it seems to have delivered for most of the day. Ntini in particular gave the Australians all sorts of trouble, and it will be interesting to see how Australia’s less than experienced bowlers fare when they get their chance on day two.

If every day’s play is like this, we’re in for a fantastic couple of weeks.

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Wow. I have to admit, I didn’t see that coming. Australia were dismissed for a mere 214 on day one of the First Test between Australia and New Zealand.

Tim Southee took 4-63, and the behemoth that is Jesse Ryder chipped in to take 2-7, including the wicket of Michael Clarke for 98.

In response, the Black Caps were 7 without loss at the close. Can they get themselves a decent first innings lead, or will they throw away their best chance in many years to win a Test in Australia? Things are getting very interesting indeed…

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