Australia batting was 'disgraceful', says Clarke



Australia batting was `disgraceful`, says ClarkeCape Town: Australia captain Michael Clarke described his team`s batting as "disgraceful and unacceptable" after they were bowled out for 47 in the first Test against South Africa on Thursday.

The touring side collapsed to 21 for nine and were in danger of making the lowest ever Test total before last-wicket pair Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon added 26.

"The top seven need to take full responsibility, that certainly was not good enough," Clarke told a news conference.

"I myself as the leader, especially coming off a hundred, am to blame. Our shot selection was horrible, you have to give South Africa credit for bowling very well, but it was unacceptable.

"Our shot selection was disgraceful, there`s no excuse for being bowled out for 47, we just did not exercise our skills. We played big shots at the wrong time," Clarke said.

"I`ve never had a day like that in my career before. Hopefully I never will again," he added.

Clarke said the Australians had worked hard in the nets on playing their first 20 balls in Test cricket.

"But apart from numbers 10 and 11, who else even lasted 20 balls? It`s the one thing we`ve worked really hard on in the nets and we forgot all about it," Clarke said.

South Africa, themselves bowled out for 96 on an extraordinary day at Newlands, reached 81 for one in their second innings at the close and need another 155 runs for victory.

"I have no doubt we can still win, we have a great opportunity to win tomorrow in my opinion," Clarke said.

"If we can put the ball in the right areas for long enough and hold our catches," he added. "The pitch hasn`t changed, there`s still enough in it to make it difficult, especially when it`s overcast."

Opener Jacques Rudolph, the South Africa batsman dismissed in the second innings, said the hosts were confident of pulling off a remarkable victory.

"Tomorrow we need to have a very good attitude and put in a clinical performance, but we`ve chased very well previously against Australia," he said.

"It was a strange day, to see so many wickets falling in two or three hours. But the captain said to put it behind us and go out firing. At one stage I looked at the scoreboard and saw 21 for nine and I couldn`t believe it. There were 15 wickets in a row where batsman were out for less than 10.

"The pitch has just quickened up a bit, but I think it`s just about finding the balance between being too positive and too tentative, and some poor execution as well," Rudolph added.

Bureau Report