Michael Clarke calls for one last stand
Michael Clarke has told Australia that fatigue is no excuse for a sub-par performance as they bring a gruelling nine-month period to a close in the third and final Test against the West Indies.
Today’s clash in Dominica is the 13th Test the Baggy Greens have played since touring Sri Lanka last August, a schedule that has included series against South Africa, New Zealand and India as well as a countless number of limited-overs matches.
However, with the Aussies holding a 1-0 lead and needing at least a draw to secure the series, ‘Pup’ (pictured) has demanded his side do all they can to ensure they head home on a positive note.
“I’m pretty sure all the boys will want to make this Test a good one for themselves personally and for the team because we’ve had a really good summer, we want to finish on a high,” said the skipper, whose team don’t play another Test until next winter’s home series against South Africa.
“Guys can’t be too fatigued. Ninety-five per cent of the blokes are going to the IPL so we’ve no excuse not to come out and play our best cricket once again in this Test and finish what’s been a very good summer of Test cricket on a high.
“Your No.1 goal is to win every series you play, there’s no doubt about that, that’s what we plan to do in this third Test.”
The pitch in Roseau appears set to provide the most pace and bounce of the series, suggesting young left-arm quick Mitchell Starc will get the nod ahead of Michael Beer.
Starc hasn’t played a Test since the win over India in Perth three months ago, yet the promise of a faster track than those seen in Barbados or Trinidad should see him recalled in place of the left-arm spinner.
However, Windies turner Shane Shillingford is confident there’ll still be something in it for the slower bowlers.
“I’ve not had a good look at the pitch but I know playing here in a first-class game there’s been a good deal of spin,” the 29-year-old said.
“I’m not sure what preparation has been done. All I know is that it’s an all-round pitch where the batsman and the bowler has to put in.”