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Aus skipper Michael Clarke blames pitches for Ashes defeat

London: Australia captain Michael Clarke claimed pitches prepared specifically to help England's bowlers were to blame for his side's failure to retain the Ashes.

Michael Clarke. Pic/AFP
Michael Clarke. Pic/AFP 

Despite marking his last match before international retirement by leading Australia to victory by an innings and 46 runs in the fifth Test at The Oval, Clarke was frustrated that a succession of bowler-friendly pitches had played a decisive role as England won the series 3-2.

While Australia won on the two flattest pitches of the series at Lord's and The Oval, they were ruthlessly exposed by England's pace bowlers on lively tracks at Cardiff, Edgbaston and Trent Bridge.

Hinting that those surfaces were ordered by the England hierarchy in a bid to expose Australia to conditions that favoured the hosts, Clarke suggested groundsmen should be given more say in pitch preparation.

"You're given a role, a responsibility, and a job and you want to be able to do your best at that," Clarke said.

"I've got a feeling, from the conversations I've had with a lot of the groundsmen in this country, they're a little bit disappointed they haven't been able to do as they've wanted to do," he said.

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