Aussie skipper Clarke laments toss, defends team selection

Nottingham, Aug 7 (IANS) Australia skipper Michael Clarke has backed the decision to drop Mitchell Marsh for the fourth Ashes Test and lamented the outcome of the toss in the ongoing fourth Test here at Trent Bridge cricket ground.

England won the toss and invited Australia to bat. The visitors crumbled to some hostile pace bowling to fold up for only 60 runs in their first innings on Thursday. England in reply, posted 274/4 at stumps on the first day, a lead of 214 runs.

Clarke, however, refused to give up hope of salvaging the Test. England lead the five-match Test series 2-1.

The younger Marsh was dropped for brother Shaun to strengthen Australia’s under-performing middle order, but not even the extra batsman could counter Stuart Broad’s incisive swing bowling as the Englishman claimed career-best figures of 8-15 to help roll the tourists for 60 inside 19 overs.

“The team, at the end of the day the selectors pick the team and I respect what they do. We’ve got some very good selectors to be honest. So, I think their reasons for the eleven players they gave me and that we spoke about were very good,” Clarke was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia.

“I think we’ve seen at Edgbaston, Mitch Marsh didn’t bowl too many overs. We knew this wicket was going to have enough in it. The plan was to bowl first. And the extra batting – knowing that if we didn’t win the toss it was going to be hard to bat, the selectors wanted that extra batting as well to make as many runs as we could.”

The 34-year-old backed the selectors saying, “I think the selectors have been fantastic all series. They’ve been very open and honest with me. They’ve kept the faith with certain players.”

“It doesn’t matter what XI you pick, you’ve got to play as well as you possibly can and we didn’t do that today. As hard as it is for me (to not turn down the option of batting first) I was definitely going to bowl first today if I won the toss. But it didn’t matter, I didn’t win the toss,” Clarke concluded.

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