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Disappointed captain Clarke says lacking match practice

Reuters | Updated: October 26, 2014, 10:03 AM IST
Disappointed captain Clarke says lacking match practice

Captain Michael Clarke was frank about Australia's struggles to read the spin off the slow Dubai wicket but declined to criticise his team mates after his second dismissal to slow bowling in the first Test against Pakistan.

Reduced to 59 for four wickets at the close of day four on Saturday after being set 438 to win, Australia are staring at a demoralising defeat at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the first of the two-Test series.

Clarke was dismissed lbw for three runs by debutant legspinner Yasir Shah, one more run than his first innings when he was caught in close off the bowling of left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar.

Clarke considered appealing the lbw decision but declined to do so and was left to rue that when the television replay showed he had nicked the ball onto his pad.

The other three top order batsmen were dismissed by either Zulfiqar and Yasir but Clarke was not singling anyone out.

"I'm really disappointed with my personal performance in this Test match," Clarke told reporters.

"I'm not looking to blame anybody else or criticise anybody else. I've always loved the challenge of facing spin bowling.

"I've been out twice to spin bowling in this Test match.

"It's not so much the spin, it's the slowness of the wicket.

"The spin's a little bit inconsistent and I think that's what's caught us out today. Guys have played for spin and a lot of us have been out to balls that haven't spun as much."

Clarke arrived in the United Arab Emirates scrambling to be fit after a hamstring strain ruled him out of much of Australia's one-day tournament in Zimbabwe in August and September and the three one-day matches ahead of the series against Pakistan.

He has played only one injury-hampered one-day match in seven months since leading Australia to a Test series victory over South Africa in March.

"My performance with the bat in this match has been disappointing, there's no doubt about it," he said. "I read somewhere the other day, one of the writers said I was short of match practice and I think that probably sums it up.

"It's about making sure I continue to do the hard work, continue to back my ability and find a way to spend some time in the middle because there's not time between now and the second Test match.

"So I've just got to keep working my backside off in the nets and then when I get another opportunity I've got to bat as long as I can."

First Published: October 26, 2014, 10:03 AM IST

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