At Trent Bridge this week, Clarke will merit hero or fall-guy status as he tries to keep alive Australia’s hopes of retaining the Ashes. You don’t play forever and think “who is irreplaceable”?
AUSTRALIAN selectors have rolled the dice on Shaun Marsh after sensationally dropping his brother Mitchell for the fourth Ashes Test at Nottingham.
Success at Trent Bridge will see England regain the Ashes after they suffered a 5-0 drubbing in Australia in 2013/14.
The Yorkshire opener is averaging just 12 from his six Ashes innings and may well have lost his place had there been a compelling candidate in form.
Cook confirmed that Durham’s Mark Wood, who took four wickets on his Ashes debut as England won the first Test in Cardiff, was likely to be tasked with filling the chasm, having recovered from an ankle problem. “After 13 years in this team I still think I can improve”.
Immortality beckons for another would-be hero as England attempt to take an unassailable lead before the series finale at the Oval later this month – a point Cook was keen to make yesterday.
“There’s only one way to do it, and that’s by giving your all, your absolute best – and the result will take care of itself”, he said. You can only work as hard as you can.
“I’m scratching my head a little bit about not continuing on from that (first over), and that’s something I’ll look at this game”, said Johnson.
Many predicted Clarke would play little or no part in Australia’s home World Cup campaign last winter, as he struggled to recover from hamstring surgery.
“He looked like his method was sorted out, though he didn’t quite get the runs”.
“That’s what playing sport at the highest level is about – it’s the roller coaster ride, the highs and lows, being able to pick yourself up when things don’t go to plan, and find a way to get through that”.
Meanwhile Nottinghamshire groundsman Steve Birks is under pressure too after last year’s Test pitch at Trent Bridge was officially classed as “poor” after a run-glut draw between England and India proved heart-breaking for any bowler above medium-pace.