We were outplayed, admits Australian skipper

Clarke gives his thumbs-up to turning pitch at Chepauk

Australian skipper Michael Clarke admitted that India had outplayed them in the first Test, and said the visitors need to execute their skills with bat and ball better to stage a comeback in the series.

“They’ve got two off-spinners…(Ravindra) Jadeja played, and you’ve got (Pragyan) Ojha bowling now (in the nets). I think you have to find a way against the ball spinning in both directions. I think it’s more personal preference.

“I got out to a ball spinning away in the first innings, and to one spinning back in the second innings. I don’t think we can blame the number of left-handers we have. We’ve just got to find a way to execute our skills better, with bat and ball,” Clarke told reporters here on Tuesday.

However, Clarke said they have not attacked India enough to exploit a few chinks in their armour. “There are areas in the Indian team we didn’t attack enough. If we’d got 150 or 200 on the board (for them to chase), we might have been able to expose or at least seen how they played on a deteriorating wicket.

“A lot of credit has to go to India. They outplayed us. MS Dhoni certainly led the charge and changed the game. Then there was hundred by Kohli and Ashwin took seven and five. We were outplayed.”

Then the inevitable question came about whether Australia would include more spinners – they have Xavier Doherty and Glen Maxwell in the squad – for the second Test at Hyderabad, and Clarke preferred to keep the cards close to his chest.

“Bring more spinners to India? Bring the whole country in soon! Warney’s in town. We’ll see if he’s available. See, we have 17 players already in the squad and we need to make the most of the talent we have. We have spinning options with Doherty and Maxwell. We’ll assess what the pitch is like (in Hyderabad) and then make that decision,” he said.

‘It’s about performance’

“It’s not just about selection. It’s about how you perform. I don’t think we bowled well enough in our first innings, and we certainly didn’t bat well enough in our second innings,” he added.

Clarke also didn’t dwell too much into the question whether he would like to come up the order considering his good run with the bat.

“I’ve had that discussion every Test match since being captain. I don’t know how moving up the order guarantees any more runs. No matter where you bat, the guys in the top seven need to make sure we’re scoring the majority of the runs.”

The New South Wales player also termed the Chepauk surface as a fine one for Test cricket.

“I think the wicket played better than it looked. Both first innings, the wicket was pretty good for batting. The second innings, it did deteriorate. It spun and bounced a lot more. The bounce was inconsistent. I like to see a result in Test cricket, and the fact that the game went five days says to me that it’s a pretty good Test match wicket,” Clarke noted.

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