Australian skipper Michael Clarke did not have an ideal build-up ahead of the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge. There were speculations that a poor show by Australia could result in the end of his playing career. His form with the bat was scratchy.
In the pre-match press conference at Nottingham, Clarke clearly let the pressure show when he angrily dismissed reports that he was not retiring. When Australia lost the toss on a helpful Trent Bridge wicket and in overcast conditions, Clarke was clearly a worried man. His grim face suggested that he was absolutely deflated. What followed was a sorry exhibition by Australia. (Make or Break for “Lost’ Clarke, Says Australian Media | Clarke Furious After Australian Media Question is Hunger)
Stuart Broad, who was the designated leader of the attack in James Anderson’s absence, bowled like a man possessed and picked up wickets with frightening ease. In his first over, he sent back Chris Rogers and Steven Smith cheaply. Advantage England and Australia never recovered. (Need to Contribute: Clarke)
Clarke walked in and he looked very tentative and edgy. His judgment around the off stump was dodgy and he somehow managed to keep a short ball away when he awkwardly pulled to deep square leg.
At the other end, wickets kept tumbling and Broad was slicing through the batting with gay abandon. Broad sent back Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges and it was only a matter of time before Clarke succumbed. The manner of his dismissal was disappointing. (Stuart Broad Wary of ‘Dangerous’ Michael Clarke)
Broad bowled a full and wide delivery outside off and Clarke slashed at it without moving his feet, only for the edge to fly to his opposite counterpart Alastair Cook at first slip. For the 11th time, Clarke had fallen to Broad.
The rest of the batting collapsed in a heap. If there was one consolation, then it was the fact that the lower order helped Australia overcome their lowest Test score of 36. If one thought that Newlands 2011 against South Africa was just a one-off, then Trent Bridge 2015 represents the nightmare that Australia face against the swinging ball. (Michael Clarke – Time to Rise From the Ashes)
For Clarke, the chance to retain the Urn is now close to impossible. His poor form, combined with a potential surrender of the Ashes, could see his exit. He has three more chances to redeem himself with the bat, but with a series potentially gone out of the window, it could be the end for Clarke both as a player and a captain.