In the absence of a minor miracle Australia looks set to lose the third Ashes test at Edgbaston later on this evening.
Seven wickets down, a miniscule lead of just 23 runs doesn’t offer much hope, even to the most optimistic Australian fans.
While it’s not the entire reason that Australia look set to go down 2-1 in the five test series, the batting form of Michael Clarke has been worrying of late.
The captain, for so long relied upon to carry a faltering batting lineup, is now enduring a lean spell himself.
The chart below shows Clarke’s career batting run chart. While it is impressive, he still averages over 50 with the bat – no mean feat – there has been a noticeable drop off in form since Clarke made a heroic hundred against India in the first test of last summer’s domestic test season.
Since Clarke hit that ton, it’s been lean pickings with the bat ever since.
In the past ten innings Clarke has failed to pass 50, the second-longest stretch in his career. He’s scored just 180 runs at an average of 22.5 – underwhelming compared to the lofty standards Clarke and cricket fans worldwide have come to expect.
Perhaps even more worrying than that statistic is that the longest stretch that Clarke has failed to pass 50, 11 innings, was recent too – occurring between December 2013 through to March 2014.
In essence, from when Clarke hit 148 against England in the second Ashes test of the 2013/14 summer, he’s passed 50 only twice in his last 28 innings – 161 not out versus South Africa in Cape Town and 128 against India in Adelaide.
While his impressive test career, along with with his tactical nounce as captain, will ensure Clarke’s place in the team remains secure, cricket fans – more than likely from Australia rather than England – will be hoping that his lean trot with the bat is coming to an end, and soon.
In the meantime, let’s hope Peter Neville, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon can channel the same batting prowess of Ashton Agar during the last Ashes series held in the UK.
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