Clarke rues inconsistency
Michael Clarke slammed another "poor performance" from his batsmen after Australia crashed to a series-levelling defeat to New Zealand.
By Joe Drabble - Twitter: @SkySportsDrabs
Last Updated: 12/12/11 8:55am
Australia captain Michael Clarke slammed another "poor performance" from his batsmen after his side crashed to a series-levelling seven-run defeat to New Zealand at Hobart.
Clarke's men started the fourth day of the second Test on 72-0 chasing 241 for victory, but collapsed to 233 all out to lose their first home Test against the Black Caps since 1985.
As in the recent series with South Africa, where they were bowled out for 47 in the first Test, Clarke's team ended up drawing 1-1.
"It probably sums up where we are as a team, we've seen some patches of individual excellence, and even some as a team," he said.
"We're playing very well in patches but you are seeing the other side as well, where we're letting ourselves down with really poor performances."
Despite having lost a Test in Hobart for the first time, Australia have an immediate chance to bounce back as they look forward to a four-Test home series against India starting on Boxing Day.
But one man who appears unlikely to feature in that series is opener Phil Hughes, who endured another torrid Test with the bat against New Zealand.
Clarke has been a staunch supporter of his New South Wales team-mate but suggested time had finally run out for the 24-year-old.
"He's obviously really disappointed, like all the batters are, for the way we played today but Hughsey's obviously the most disappointed, he's been getting out the same way," he said.
"I know he's been working hard in the nets trying to improve that deficency in his technique ... but he needs to find some runs, if he's not making them for Australia, he's going to have to go back and score some for New South Wales."
Clarke also fired a warning to the other underperforming batsmen such as Usman Khawaja and former captain Ricky Ponting.
"(Hughes) needs some runs, no doubt, but he's not the only one, let me make that clear."
The performance of opener Dave Warner did offer some encouragement for Australia looking ahead to the India Test.
The belligerent left-hander smashed an unbeaten 123 - his maiden Test century - to take Australia on the brink of victory against New Zealand.
And Clarke insists he never doubted that Warner, mainly recognised for his exploits in the one-day game, could make the step up to the longer format.
"He's an amazing talent and has been for a long time, he's been keen to get an opportunity to play test cricket for Australia," said Clarke.
"He's made the most of his chances in Twenty20 and one-day cricket and showed again today that he's here to stay in Test cricket as well."
Warner, though disappointed by the defeat, also felt he had proved a point.
"I've always said I wanted to prove to people I could play longer form and now today it's overwhelming to show people what I've done," he said.
"At the end of the day I've just proved to people I can play the longer form."
Another positive was the bowling of paceman James Pattinson, who took five-wicket hauls in both Tests against New Zealand and was named player of the series.