Job not done yet, says Australia’s Clarke
PERTH: Australia skipper Michael Clarke was naturally delighted with his team’s series triumph over India on Sunday but said he and his players will not rest until they once again top the world rankings.
Clarke has overseen a transformation of his country’s fortunes since the Ashes drubbing at the hands of England a year ago and their progress was confirmed when they beat India by an innings and 37 runs on Sunday to take a 3-0 lead in the series.
Currently fourth in the test rankings behind England, India and South Africa, even a bump above the Proteas will not satisfy Clarke and his team as they head into the fourth test in Adelaide with an insurmountable advantage.
“We’re a long way from the team we want to be,” the 30-year-old told a news conference.
“It’s a nice feeling to have won this series, don’t get me wrong, but we want to be the number one team in the world and we’re a long way from that yet. We’ve got a lot of work still to do and that starts in Adelaide.”
Clarke, booed by his own fans when he came out to bat in the final Ashes test last year, took over the captaincy from Ricky Ponting last March and is unbeaten in test series against Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and now India.
There have been some low points too, however, not least the skittling for 47 in South Africa and the first defeat to New Zealand on home soil in a quarter of a century in Hobart last month.
Clarke’s mantra since he took over has been about improving the team’s consistency and that was what pleased him most about the three victories over India.
“We look to continue to improve our cricket, we need to head in the right direction,” he said.
“When you win a test series against the number two test team in the world, that is the result of the hard work we have been putting in behind the scenes, which is what is so pleasing about it for us players.”
Clarke paid credit to David Warner, who scored 180, and Ed Cowan for the opening partnership of 214 which anchored Australia’s sole innings on what was a difficult track for batting.
But as he has throughout the series, Clarke had a special word for his four pace bowlers, who once again took 20 wickets against a batting line-up studded with world class players.
“It’s very easy when you get a couple of wins to take things for granted,” he said.
“We haven’t done that, both as an individuals and as a team. We made a pact yesterday that we didn’t want to send our batters out again on that wicket and it was pleasing to be able to keep to our word today.”
Their quest to reach the top of the world game means there will be no let-up next week in fourth test, even if the series is already won.
“No such thing as a dead rubber, as far I am concerned,” he said. “We’ll be out there doing exactly the same in Adelaide.”