Clarke`s sustained sterling form behind promotion to No 4 spot: Ponting

London: Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has said that his decision to elevate Michael Clarke in the batting order in the Lord`s Test against Pakistan was in recognition of his deputy`s sterling Test form over the past two years.

Ponting also said that it was an attempt to fortify the batting order before the Ashes, which begins in Brisbane in November.

The Test marks the start of Clarke`s long-anticipated shift from No.5 to No.4, in a swap with veteran Mike Hussey.

"I had a good chat to both of those guys leading into the Derby [warm-up] game about the reasons behind it and what I see as being best for the team ... That`s the way it will be for not only this series, but right through the Ashes as well," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Ponting, as saying.

Hussey has had the No.4 position since Damien Martyn`s retirement in 2006.

In the past two years the left-hander has scored 1587 runs from 44 innings, at an average of 38.71, while in the same period Clarke scored 2163 runs at 56.92.

Only opener Simon Katich, with 2215 runs, outscored Clarke in the Australian team.

Talking about Clarke`s batting performances, Ponting said that the 29-year-old has developed his game nicely over the last couple of years.

"I think his game`s very well suited higher up the order against the newer ball, probably a bit more than what Hussey`s is right at the moment. He has been our most consistent player and that`s been pretty much in all conditions around the world," Ponting said.

"During the last Ashes series over here I think he showed that at different times and at challenging times when the ball was moving around quite a bit that he can do the job up the order," he added.



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