Clarke all praise for bowlers, Rogers

Clarke all praise for bowlers, Rogers

Clarke all praise for bowlers, Rogers

Australia captain Michael Clarke was left to thank his bowlers and centurion Chris Rogers for the hosts’ escape in the fourth Ashes Test on Sunday, having risked his team’s winning streak by opting to bowl first after winning the toss.

The queasy feeling can only have grown stronger as England survived to stumps at 226-6, with the hosts’ best batsman Kevin Pietersen leading from the front.
“When you win the toss and bowl, the result always dictates whether you’ll be criticised or applauded,” Clarke told reporters.

“Was it the right decision or not? Well the result will say yes, but after the first five overs on day one, the wicket certainly played better than I expected it to.
“It certainly wasn’t our bowlers I was second guessing, it was more the fact that I was hoping that the grass on the wicket and the overhead conditions were going to do a little more than they did.”

Fortunately for Clarke, man-of-the-match Mitchell Johnson intervened early on day two, tearing through the England tail to finish with five wickets and wrap up their innings for 255.

Despite wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s serial rescues, Australia’s batsmen have also proved frail throughout the series and collapsed to be all out for 204, to concede a 51-run first innings lead.

Openers Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry appeared set to carry England to a dominant position, but Johnson intervened again, trapping the England skipper in front for 51 with a searing inswinger that turned the game on its head.

England limped to tea at 115-4 and were then duly routed in the final session of day three as spinner Nathan Lyon and their own scrambled shot selection handed the momentum straight back to the hosts.