Michael Clarke admitted that his Australia team have become a laughing stock and cannot have any complaints about it after an “unacceptable” batting performance in the first innings at Lord’s.
Clarke provoked some chortling in the crowd when he insisted to Sky’s Mike Atherton that Australia could win the remaining three Tests to regain the Ashes at the post-match presentation ceremony in front of the pavilion. “I heard a lot of the crowd laugh when I said that, and rightly so,” the captain reflected later.
“What can I say? Our performance in the first innings was unacceptable. Just about everyone in our top seven has made a 50 so far in the series which shows that the talent is there. We just didn’t have the discipline that England had - they were willing to bat for long periods and graft through the tough times. “We’ve got so much support here and in Australia but we’re letting ourselves and our supporters down at the moment. We’re letting our bowlers down as well.”
Clarke accepted a large share of the responsibility for that collective failure after making 51, his highest score of the series and the third consecutive innings in which he has passed 20 without going on to the big score Australia needed. “I haven’t scored enough runs, it’s as simple as that. I’m as responsible, if not more accountable, for my poor performance in the first innings [when he was lbw to a Stuart Broad inswinger for 28]. My shot selection was extremely poor. I expect better from myself and this team needs me to make sure when I get a start like that I get a big score.”
He plans to play in the three-day tour match against Sussex that starts at Hove on Friday and said he had no knowledge of the selectors looking outside the squad for reinforcements.