Michael Clarke seemed a worried man when he walked into the press conference room on Tuesday, but a few comical questions over the next 10 minutes saw him have a good laugh.
The Australia skipper was asked for the umpteenth time if he had erred by picking just a specialist spinner in Nathan Lyon for this Test. “We need to assess conditions once we get to Hyderabad. Australian spin took three wickets in the first innings. Fast bowling took a lot more. I don’t mean to say we got it right. It’s not just about selection. It’s about how you perform. I don’t think we bowled well enough in our first innings and we certainly didn’t bat well enough in our second innings,” he said.
Later, he was asked if he planned to bring more spinners to India. “Bring the whole country in soon! We have 17 players here already,” he said with a chuckle. “We need to make the most of the talent we have. (Shane) Warney’s in town. We’ll see if he’s available,” leaving the hall in splits. “We have spinning options with Xavier Doherty, Glenn Maxwell.”
Clarke, who scored a brilliant century in the first dig, refused to blame the dust bowl, though. “I think the wicket played better than it looked. Both first innings, the wicket was pretty good for batting. The second innings, it did deteriorate. It spun and bounced a lot more. The bounce was inconsistent. I like to see a result in Test cricket, and the fact that the game went five days says to me that it’s a pretty good Test-match wicket,” Clarke said.
Clarke said he would have loved to put India under pressure by giving them a 150 or 200-run target. “We might have been able to expose or, at least, seen how they played on a deteriorating wicket. A lot of credit has to go to India. They outplayed us,” he said.
He lauded Dhoni for his match-winning knock, saying it contributed a lot to India’s success. “But like I said, Virat Kohli made a fantastic hundred. Ashwin got seven in the first and five in the second. That’s three very good performances.”
Clarke said he was glad to see Moises Henriques do well on debut. “If we don’t have a third fast bowler, Moises can certainly do that role. I think it’s very exciting the way he’s started.”