Home > News >

Australian media hails Michael Clarke’s use of his bowling armoury in Ashes whitewash

Australian media hails Michael Clarke's use of his bowling armoury in the Ashes whitewash © Getty Images
Michael Clarke used short spells to keep the pressure on England © Getty Images

Sydney: Jan 11, 2014

An analysis appearing in an Australian daily has revealed key factors that allowed Michael Clarke to comprehensively outwit England cricket captain Alastair Cook in the recently-held Ashes series.

One factor that has emerged as the key was Clarke’s clever manipulation of his bowling attack. He rotated and reshuffled his bowlers with the hyperkinetic intensity of a Delhi street cop while Cook stood passively and let matches drift.

In the five Test matches, Clarke changed his bowlers with marginally greater frequency than Cook— once every 4.3 overs compared to Cook’s once every 4.2 overs. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, what that figure hides is when the changes happened, and how strategic was Clarke’s thinking.

For example, in the first three Tests, on the best batting wickets of the series, Clarke changed his bowlers 25 per cent more frequently than Cook. Cook followed old formulae of giving Graeme Swann and James Anderson very long spells, but Clarke fearlessly rotated his bowlers about, not just when they were not taking wickets, but even when they were.

In each of those first three matches, England bowled roughly the same number of overs, 191 to Australia’s 197. Only in the furnace of Perth did Cook rouse himself to change his bowlers more, but even then it was a minor adaptation, down below once every five overs for the first time.

Clarke, by contrast, changed his bowlers every 3.4 overs in Perth, recognizing the effect of the heat. Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris were kept fresh, but so were Australia’s support bowlers. The two teams bowled the same number of overs in the Perth Test, but Clarke, with 52 bowling changes to Cook’s 42, was considerably kinder to his men.

By Melbourne, when the Ashes were lost, Cook woke up to Clarke’s tactics and tried to emulate them. In the MCG and SCG Tests, the balance shifted, and Cook changed his bowlers far more often than Clarke. But here was another example of how Cook was following schedules while Clarke was responding to conditions. Melbourne and Sydney were poorer batting wickets than Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Clarke recognised that these matches were going to be shorter, wickets would fall more frequently, and the weather was considerably gentler. He was also less able to depend on Shane Watson to relieve the frontline seamers. If anything, Cook’s over-compensation in Melbourne and Sydney cost him as dearly as his inertia in the first three matches, though, to be fair, he was not helped by Swann’s retirement.

A telling impact of Clarke’s changes, was how often wickets were taken by refreshed bowlers early in their spells. During the series, Australian bowlers took a wicket in the first over of a new spell 24 times, compared to England’s 13. In all, an astonishing 48 of the 100 wickets the Australian bowlers took came in the first or second over of a new spell.

This reflects the success of Clarke’s tactics, and also the skill of those bowlers in hitting their line and length immediately. In terms of bowling in partnerships, the most productive was that of Johnson and Harris, who captured more than half of the English wickets.

When it comes to ‘team’ bowling, Lyon was the most valuable in building pressure at one end before a wicket fell at the other. He took 19 wickets, but bowled the preceding over for 36 other wickets, nearly twice as many as any other bowler.

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Deodhar Trophy, 2014-15

Nov 29, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at TBC

More

Afghanistan tour of UAE, 2014

Nov 28, 2014  at Dubai

United Arab Emirates won by 5 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 21 runs

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

Phil Hughes passes away: Video tribute

Sean Abbott will find the road ahead a living nightmare

Phillip Hughes’ death: What happens to India vs Australia Test series?

Phillip Hughes 63 not out, forever

Phil Hughes: Remembering his most memorable knocks

Phillip Hughes passes away: Crying for Phillip Hughes

Australia England India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 Phil Hughes Phil Hughes Death Phil Hughes head injury Phillip Hughes Sri Lanka

Michael Clarke: Words cannot express the loss we all feel as a team right now

Phil Hughes passes away: Anil Kumble extends his condolences to Hughes family

India tour of Australia 2014-15: 1st Test set to be rescheduled as David Warner, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin not ready

UAE beat Afghanistan by 5-wickets in first ODI at Dubai

Bangladesh edge out Zimbabwe by 21 runs in 4th ODI at Dhaka

Murali Vijay in India vs Australia Test series: Will he be an integral part?

Phillip Hughes’ unfortunate demise: Ahmed Shehzad was lucky, Phil Hughes was not

Shakib Al Hasan becomes highest wicket-taker against Zimbabwe in ODIs

Phil Hughes passes away: Cricket gradually gets off and running a day later

Khurram Khan of UAE becomes 7th oldest international captain

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Pukaar’s Rannvijay Singh will face new challenges with ‘Zen Life’

Yami Gautam Birthday: The Vicky Donor girl turns 26 (In Pics)

6 medical miracles that will blow your mind

OPEC daily basket price closes over three US dollars lower

Badlapur new poster: Varun Dhawan stuns us with his deadly rugged avatar – view pic!

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

6 must-have aromatherapy oils for your medicine cabinet

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here