“Has it started?”
Michael Clarke asked the question to the journalist who raised the issue of his recent lean run with the bat, but knew full well it had.
Clarke was out for 19 and one in Australia’s 231-run loss to South Africa in Port Elizabeth, which levelled the ongoing three-Test series at 1-1.
Since starting the summer’s home Ashes series with consecutive centuries, Clarke has failed to pass 25 in his next 11 Test innings.
It’s a trot the Australia skipper is very keen to end in Cape Town, where the series decider starts on Saturday.
“Obviously I’d like to score a hundred every time I bat. I’m not looking forward to the next however many press conferences until I make a score over 25 or 50 or a hundred,” Clarke said.
“I have been there before. The one thing I will say is that in this game of cricket you have some great times and I remember those fondly.
“There are some tough times and it makes you enjoy the good times. Right now you’re right, it is 11 innings since I’ve scored more than 25. I’m due.”
Clarke joked that if national selectors were to drop a batsman on form to make way for Shane Watson, it might be him.
But the 32-year-old, speaking earlier, after stumps on day three, was confident an innings of substance was around the corner.
“I haven’t made as many runs as I would have liked but I feel like I’m working as hard as I (ever) have been,” Clarke said.
“I’m hitting the ball sweet. I think my shot selection was extremely poor with my dismissal.
“I’ve got to be better than that.”
Clarke still has some time on his side before he matches the mark of former skipper Mark Taylor, who went without a half-century for 21 consecutive innings in 1997/98.