Clarke wants runs for Xmas
Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke's preferred Christmas present this year is some runs in the Boxing Day Test.
Last Updated: 24/12/10 2:20pm
Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke admits what he really wants for Christmas this year is some runs in the Boxing Day Test.
Clarke is averaging just 23 in the Ashes series and his only contribution of note came in the second innings at Adelaide, where he scored 80 in a losing cause.
Australia hit back to level at 1-1 with a crushing success of their own in Perth last time out - leaving everything still to play for heading into the festive period.
"It hasn't been great," said Clarke of his performances. "I thought I batted pretty well in the second innings in Adelaide. I made 80-odd, which is nice.
"I was disappointed to get out in the last over of the day there. I felt very good in the second innings in Perth as well.
"I feel like I'm doing all the work. I feel like I'm training hard and hope there are some runs coming for me for Christmas this year.
"I certainly don't feel like I'm out of form. I feel like I'm hitting them pretty well - I just haven't got a big score yet.
"I feel like I'm doing all the right things. It's just a matter now of getting that result."
Clarke is hoping England are without seamer James Anderson at the MCG - although that appears unlikely after the Lancashire seamer, who has been suffering from a sore side, came through a net session unscathed on Christmas Eve.
"I think they'll miss Anderson if he's not fit, no doubt," added Clarke.
"It'll definitely be harder for their attack. On a big stage, a very important Test match, to lose such a big player, it would definitely put a dent in their team.
"But I'm very confident that Anderson will be fit to play."
Of England's other seamers, Clarke has been impressed by the two tall men - Steven Finn and Chris Tremlett, both towering close to 6ft 8in.
"Tremlett did really well, grabbing his opportunity in Perth, and Finn has done well in this series too," he continued.
"Anderson is probably the leader of their attack, the most experienced, but I think they've all got a big part to play.
"(Graeme) Swann is a very good spin bowler and will definitely play a part on day four and day five at least, on this wicket."