Clarke to miss last ODI game

By , 9 Feb 2013

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    Australia captain Michael Clarke will be rested from Sunday’s last one-dayer due hamstring soreness suffered in Friday night’s five-wicket win over the West Indies in Sydney.

    Team medical staff decided not to take any risks ahead of the India tour and Clarke won’t travel with the team for the dead-rubber ODI.

    Vice-captain Shane Watson will lead the side on Sunday and Clarke will fly to India on Monday morning, as arranged, for the four-Test series.

    Clarke was moving slowly Friday night while making 37 as Australia chased down the West Indies’ total of 220 with 5.1 overs to spare.

    The skipper had trouble with his right hamstring earlier this summer, carrying the problem through the second and third Tests against Sri Lanka.

    He then missed the opening ODIs against Sri Lanka.

    Despite Australia’s comfortable win in game four, Aaron Finch was out for 25 and again failed to cement his place in the one-day picture looking towards the 2015 World Cup.

    However batting partner Watson continued to flourish at the top of the order.

    He continued to take his chances and prove he’s best suited to opening the batting in all forms with a rock-solid half century.

    Watson’s timing couldn’t be better – following up his ton in Canberra on Wednesday with 76 from 84 balls on Friday – as he chases a return to opening in the Tests in India.

    The West Indies were 6-55 and facing the embarrassment of another sub-100 total on Friday, before a dazzling rearguard century from man of the match Kieron Pollard saved face.

    But his 109 not out couldn’t prevent Australia going up 4-0 and within arms reach of an all-too-easy series clean sweep in Melbourne on Sunday.

    On an individual front, though, things don’t look as rosy for Finch.

    Finch hasn’t been able to convert his excellent domestic one day competition (averaging 99.4) and Big Bash (66.4) form and lock up a position ahead of June’s Champions Trophy and, in turn, the World Cup in two years.
    In ODIs this summer, Finch has averaged 21 with a highest score of 38.

    Earlier, Johnson (3-36) had the Windies reeling at 3-17 after eight overs.

    Johnson said competition for bowling spots in India is as fierce as he can recall but hopes to be in Australia’s starting XI for the first match.

    “I feel my form throughout this ODI tournament has been very good,” he said.

    “I’m not sure what’s going to happen in India. To be fair, we’ve still got one more game here.

    “We want to win five nil so we’re almost there and then we can focus on India.”

    Ben Cutting also took three wickets after being called into the team for the rested Mitchell Starc – who also won’t play in Melbourne.

    Adam Voges (28) replaced George Bailey, who was ruled out with a slight hamstring strain.

    Pollard’s third ODI century at least kept the groaning 18,161 fans interested for longer.

    Watson was dropped by wicketkeeper Devon Thomas on 32 with the score at 1-78.

    Johnson said Watson had returned to the form that won him the Allan Border Medal in 2010-11, and said it was a confidence booster for the team heading to India following the retirement of Mike Hussey.

    © AAP 2014
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