The Ashes 2017/18: Michael Clarke’s Advise For England To Retain The Urn
Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke feels that England can stun widely-touted favourites hosts in the upcoming Ashes if they manage to win the first Test at the Gabba, considered as Australia’s fortress.
Since the defeat at the hands of the formidable West Indies way back in 1988, Australia have not lost a single game in Brisbane. On the other hand, the visitors last managed a win at the venue in 1986. Since the win in 1986, England played seven Tests in Brisbane but did not manage to end up on the winning side even once, losing five while drawing the other two.
Not surprisingly, Steve Smith & Co. will start the game as favourites, but Clarke feels a history-defying win at the famous venue will set the tone for Joe Root & Co. Clarke, who had led Australia to a thumping 5-0 win when England last arrived in the country four years ago, had a word of advice for the visitors, saying that they can stun the hosts if they manage to handle Australia’s formidable pace attack well.
“If I was England I’d be focused on the attack I had to face, that would be my concern,” Clarke told cricket.com.au.
“Knowing that you’ve got (Josh) Hazlewood in top form and fit, (Mitchell) Starc bowling like a genius and (Pat) Cummins is a superstar, complemented with Nathan Lyon. If I was England that would be my focus, trying to find a way to be able to combat that and also to be able to dominate,” he added.
Clarke further said the outcome of the series-opener would set the tone for the five-Test series and backed England to retain the urn if they manage to come out on top in Brisbane.
“You’ve got to be able to find a way to get on top of the bowlers. Will we see England come out and be aggressive and play positive or will we see them sit back. That’s why the first Test is so important. The first Test will dictate the series,” he said.
“If England win the first Test I think they will win the series,” he added.
But at the same time, Clarke said it is ‘doubtful’ that England would win at Brisbane unless Alastair Cook or Joe Root come up with a monumental knock.
‘”But it’s at the Gabba, it’s extremely unlikely unless someone like Alastair Cook or Joe root, the experienced player, really stands up and grinds the Australian bowlers into the ground, makes a big double hundred,” Clarke said.
“It’s going to be tough for England at the Gabba because you’re going to see extra pace, bounce and movement and with those three (Australia) quicks it’s going to be good to watch,” he added. “I think Australia will definitely win but I can’t see it being convincingly though.”
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