Former County cricketer,
now first-grade coach
The centuries to Michael Clarke and David Warner on day three at the Gabba were both, in their own way, outstanding.
What made the brace particularly special was the speed in which they were delivered. The average ball count to register a Test hundred is 230 rocks. Clarke and Warner, cumulatively, reached the milestone in just 20 more than this.
Hasty progression comes naturally to Warner; Clarke though, is a switch hitter, conservative in the main, however, when the situation allows he can match it with any of the game’s power hitters.
Warner must be congratulated retrospectively on his first innings contribution too. Batting through the first session at the Gabba on day one proved he is no one trick pony.
Today, thanks to the tick, tick, boom nature of his first innings dismissal, Michael Clarke was confronted with a crucially important contest. Stuart Broad has had the captain’s number of late and straight, steep bouncers were always going to be the order of the day. But this time England’s plan failed.
Aided by some overplayed aggression from Alastair Cook, Clarke was off and running as soon as his feet hit the batting crease. Gifted unopposed singles from the outset, Clarke was allowed to face balls from both ends, almost simulating his morning net session.
Daily changes in set up and trigger positions are the norm for batsmen at this level and Clarke noticeably made two small alterations.
Michael Clarke is his own best coach, what would give him most pleasure tonight, is the reassurance that his best beats his current opposition.
Firstly he swapped the front foot press trigger, for a back foot move, this saw him deeper in the crease and closer to off stump. From this position when Clarke’s hands went up he was perfectly positioned to punish the short ball. The classical contact position for a right-hander is in front of their right shoulder. Clarke’s first boundary was duly delivered from that very location, tracking through mid-wicket at a rate of knots.
Secondly, he changed the timing of his trigger move. The first innings saw him push forward very early in the bowler’s gather action. This again was swapped for a later push back to a position where he could attack the short ball.
Universally more important than the decision to try a different method, is the commitment to putting the changes into play. Michael Clarke is his own best coach, what would give him most pleasure tonight, is the reassurance that his best beats his current opposition.
Warner just went about his business without fuss at the other end. He is a special talent; a talent that must be understood and enjoyed, much the same as Australian cricket fans came to understand the mercurial performances of Mark Waugh.
Both should enjoy their lagers tonight, Warner happy to be still finding his way, Clarke pleased he has put a tall, non-walking ghost to bed – for the time being.
Nick Speak writes for Back Page Lead.