Australian skipper still harbours hopes of bowing out with a rare win on English soil
London: Michael Clarke realises there is no fairytale ending waiting for him at the Kia Oval but the Australia captain still harbours hopes of bowing out with a rare win on English soil.
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Michael Clarke during a practice session yesterday. Pic/AFP
Clarke will begin his 115th and final Test today, but any hopes he had of retiring with the urn in his grasp evaporated when Stuart Broad bowled the hosts to a 3-1 series lead at Trent Bridge.
But there is plenty still to play for — from national pride to a personal desire for a final flourish after a torrid run with the bat. Most of all, though, he will desperate to mitigate a sorry record on English soil that includes just three victories in 19 attempts.
Clarke has enjoyed two 5-0 whitewashes Down Under, but in a decade of trying he has experienced little but disappointment on these shores.
Try telling the 34-year-old this final match is a dead rubber. "There are no fairytales are there?" he noted at his final pre-match press conference.
'Play our best cricket'
"But we've got a lot of reasons to come out here and try to play our best cricket.
"This Test is as much about our character as much as anything else. We have the opportunity to fight hard, show grit and determination, play the way we know we can.
"I haven't read too much of the criticism or the positives, but I'm sure Australia fans expect the Australia team to play better than we have in this series. And they expect the leader to lead from the front and stand up. Unfortunately my performances haven't been as good as I'd like throughout this series.
"Criticism is certainly warranted but I'm looking forward to finishing this series on a high."
The number of Tests Clarke has captained Australia to - winning 23 and losing 16
The number of double tons Clarke scored in 2012