Wednesday 2 January 2013 

Australia's Focus Purely On Making It 3-0 - Clarke

Australia's Focus Purely On Making It 3-0 - Clarke
Australia's Focus Purely On Making It 3-0 - Clarke
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Australia captain Michael Clarke insists he and his team are fully focussed on trying to complete a 3-0 Test series victory over Sri Lanka ahead of the final Test, which gets underway in Sydney tomorrow (3rd January).

The match will be Michael Hussey's final outing as an international career and the selectors will be thinking about the limited overs matches against Sri Lanka and the upcoming Test tour of India.

Clarke has enough on his mind as he wants his team to follow up impressive wins in Hobart and Melbourne with a third win in a row - an outcome bet365 make a 1/4 chance (Sri Lanka are 11/1 to win and the draw is 9/2).

"I'm purely focused on this Test match, as the selectors are as well," he said in his pre-match press conference. 

"I've said before I think the chairmen of selectors, coach, other selectors need to make sure they're thinking about the future and I'm sure the Indian tour was in the front of their mind, but in regards to me as captain of the team and the boys playing the game our focus is to win this test match and to have beaten Sri Lanka 3-0 in this series."

Australia have brought in Mitchell Starc for this match and Clarke is expected the left-armer to make an impact, although he does not expect his fast men to concentrate solely on bowling short.

"Bringing Mitchell Starc back into the team obviously helps our attack, especially with the form he's in," he said. "Mitchell Johnson is batting as well as an all-rounder now. I'm confident we've enough batting still with Matthew Wade at 6, Mitchell Johnson at 7 and we've got extra bowling which is a positive for us.

"I think you can expect some good fast bowling, no doubt about it, but I don't think it necessarily needs to be short. We have plans for each individual player, some of those plans involve short pitch bowling but not necessarily for every player, you won't see anything ridiculous. It's about us bowling well to our plans, catching well and hopefully having some more success."

On Johnson, whose unbeaten 92 in the second Test, as well as six wickets, helped Australia to a convincing innings-and-201-run victory, Clarke added:

"He's one of the greatest athletes I've seen play cricket that's for sure. Give him a football, try beat him in a race, he's a very good athelete.  I think his time away from the game has freshened his body and mind. 

"You'll see he's as hungry as he's ever been, he feels he's back batting and bowling well. I think he knows in this group he's a senior player now and has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. I think he's probably enjoying more of a leadership role around the group.

"I think his experience around the group is crucial, his attitude is fantastic - even when we left him out of Hobart he had the right attitude. He made it very clear he wanted to be playing full time in all three forms of the game, and if it means he has to miss a game now and then to get himself selected more regularly then he's happy to fight for that position.

"I think he's an important player for our team in all three forms, not just test cricket. He's fit and strong so he can bowl all day, and he knows his game really well know, and is bowling well so he can bowl long spells for you which is certainly a bonus. 

"He has played in India so he has experience there so we'll wait and see, when the selection comes round for the Indian tour, but if he's bowling the way he is I see no reason he won't be on that tour."

© Cricket World 2013

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