Clarke retired from one-day cricket after leading his country to World Cup glory earlier this year but declared his intention to continue in the longer format despite long-standing back problems.
Once the hosts wrapped things up he then made a tearful address on the Trent Bridge outfield, nodding to his reputation as an emoter by admitting he was “sick of crying on television”.
He told Channel 9: “I want to play the last Test at The Oval and give it one more crack. the time is right”.
This was widely interpreted as the 34-year-old breaking the news to the team, although some members of the squad were training in the nets at the time.
Time looked to be running out for Clarke after he failed again with the bat on Friday as his team slid towards a humiliating Ashes defeat.
England completed a devastating thrashing of Australia to regain the Ashes after taking an unassailable 3-1 series lead following victory by an innings and 78 runs in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge. His sequence of 117 runs in eight innings had not helped his or his team’s cause. I’m retiring from global cricket.
“I had to change a little bit and be less stubborn than in the past”, he said.
But he did also concede that his future ultimately lay in the hands of the national selection panel, of which chairman Rod Marsh and team coach Darren Lehmann are now with the Ashes touring party.
Alastair Cook’s England came of age to regain the Ashes with a match to spare – much to the surprise of their captain.
“But I have certainly opened my ears to a number of people… and probably relaxed a little more”.
“They were both extremely respectful and thankful for what I’ve given Australian cricket”.
While that person has yet to be appointed, the role that 26-year-old Steve Smith served when Clarke was sidelined with a serious hamstring injury last summer would indicate he will start as strong favourite to be the next in in line. The sheer stress of trying to manage his woefully poor batting lineup and also keep producing runs on his own turned what was once an elegant, talented and extremely unsafe batsman into a flailing wreck, and while he was far from the worst player on the pitch, he did admit that his performances simply hadn’t been good enough, saying that at times his team was “playing with 10 men, as the captain is still on the plane”.
England have now won the last four Ashes series at home.