Clarke’s joy at Eng­land Root­ing out man in Nick

Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By IAN BAKER

Ri­valry

MOUTHY Michael Clarke in­sists he is de­lighted that Eng­land have axed Nick Comp­ton.

The Somerset star has been dropped in or­der to pro­mote Joe Root as Alas­tair Cook’s open­ing part­ner.

There was no way back for Comp­ton de­spite scor­ing two 50s play­ing against the Aussies in tour matches.

But their cocky cap­tain has al­ready started the war of words. Clarke said: “We haven’t bowled to Joe yet but we didn’t man­age to get Nick out that eas­ily, so I’m happy he’s not play­ing, to be hon­est.

“I think Nick showed over the last cou­ple of four-day matches that he’s got a lot of class.

“He’s got a very good de­fence and I’m sur­prised he’s not in the first Test team for Eng­land.”

But Clarke did con­cede his side are far from favourites as they look to re­gain the Ashes at the third at­tempt.

“I’ve said for a while now that we come here as un­der­dogs – there’s no doubt about that – but that hasn’t af­fected our prepa­ra­tion and it won’t af­fect our per­for­mance ei­ther,” he said.

“We’re look­ing for­ward to a tough se­ries, we know it’s go­ing to be tough, but I know our boys are up to the chal­lenge.

“Ev­ery time I’ve played Eng­land it’s been tough cricket, whether that be in the shorter for­mat or the Test for­mat.

“I think the ri­valry be­tween Aus­tralia and Eng­land is some­thing to look for­ward to be­ing part of as a player.

“It’s al­ways com­pet­i­tive on the field but in my ca­reer both teams have al­ways had the ut­most re­spect for each other off the field. I’m con­fi­dent this se­ries will be no dif­fer­ent.”

He added: “To win the se­ries would be a great

FRA­CAS: David Warner achieve­ment. It would be a re­ward for the hard work that we’ve put in.”

The Aussies were last night re­main­ing tightlipped over whether bad boy David Warner would re­turn to the fold.

The fiery bats­man has had to sit it out af­ter be­ing axed from their tour matches for thump­ing Eng­land star Root in a late-night pub fra­cas.

Clarke in­sisted he had al­ready told his play­ers the team, but re­fused to con­firm whether Warner was in it.

Clarke said: “I think that was sorted out a long time ago.

“I’m as con­vinced as I can be that he is ready.

“Ob­vi­ously he hasn’t played any four-day cricket, but if David is se­lected I’m con­fi­dent he’ll have suc­cess.”

PUP FOR THE CUP:

Clarke can’t wait for the se­ries to start

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