ABC: Michael Clarke slammed his side’s ‘embarrassing’ batting effort after Sri Lanka chased down Australia’s meagre total of 74 all out with four wickets in hand at the Gabba to take a 2-1 series lead.
Australia recorded its in one-day cricket, with only numbers nine and 11, Mitchell Starc (22 not out) and Xavier Doherty (15), reaching double figures and Nuwan Kulasekara doing most of the damage (5-22).
The damage to the Australian top order was done by the time Lasith Malinga took the ball, but his three for 14 ensured the tail could not recover until the unlikely 34 run 10 wicket partnership. “Our batting was embarrassing to be honest,” Clarke told Grandstand.
“Our shot selection was very poor. Our defence was very poor. “A lot of credit has to go to Sri Lanka. They bowled really well and executed their plans very well.
“But we have no excuse for that very poor performance.
“It certainly swung. I think we saw some class swing bowling but we have to be better than that.
“200 runs would have been a good total.”
A hostile bowling spell from Mitchell Johnson (three for 11) kept the Australians in the match.
He took the crucial wicket of joint top-scorer Tillakaratne Dilshan (22) and then Lahiri Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews in consecutive balls as Sri Lanka went into the mandatory break at 4-28.
Strangely Johnson did not bowl after the resumption of play and Kushal Perera (22 not out) guided the tourists, home with 30 overs to spare despite Starc picking up two wickets.
“Credit has to go to our bowlers who had a red-hot crack,” said Clarke, who was bowled by a vicious inswinger from Kulasekara for nine.
“If you see out the new ball it’s a beautiful wicket to bat on.
“I think the new ball in both innings was going to be crucial.
“The positive is we got six wickets. If you make 75 runs you’re not going to win many games.”
Clarke denies that Australia’s rotation policy, which saw him, David Warner and Matthew Wade return to the side in Brisbane, had any effect on the match. He says Australia coach Mickey Arthur’s absence was also a non-factor.
“Its not like we’ve had three days off, we had five days off,” Clarke said. “We trained really well over the last couple of days.
“We can’t blame anybody but ourselves. (Arthur’s absence) has zero influence on the way I walk out and bat.
“He deserves a few days off. He’ll be back in Sydney.”
The remaining fixtures in the five-match series take place in Sydney on Sunday and Hobart on Wednesday.