Australia promote Clarke

Vice-captain to swap places with Hussey in batting order

Last Updated: 12/07/10 4:54pm

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Clarke: number four role

Clarke: number four role

Sky Bet

Australia Test captain Ricky Ponting has confirmed his deputy Michael Clarke will bat at number four all the way through to the Ashes later this year.

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"I think his (Clarke) game's very well suited higher up the order against the newer ball, more than Hussey's is at the moment."
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Michael Hussey swapped places with Clarke for the tour match against Derbyshire, which served as Australia's warm-up for the two-Test series against Pakistan in England, starting at Lord's on Tuesday.

Clarke has batted at four just seven times in his 60-Test career and averages only 16.67 in the position, compared to 56 when he comes in at five.

But Ponting said: "I think his game's very well suited higher up the order against the newer ball, more than Hussey's is at the moment.

"He has been our most consistent player and that is in all conditions around the world.

"He has developed his game over the last couple of years and when guys are playing that well they need to be batting as soon as possible.

"That is why he has moved up a spot and that is the way it will be, not only for this series but right through the Ashes as well."


Ponting also confirmed Australia will give debuts to Tim Paine and Steven Smith at Lord's.

Wicketkeeper Paine replaces the injured Brad Haddin, while leg-spinner Smith will become the latest slow bowler to be tried since the retirement of Shane Warne.

"The guys that have been here and done it before will hopefully be better for the experience of last time," added Ponting, whose side lost to England at Lord's in last year's Ashes Test.

"We will be talking to the young guys about the enormity of the game. There is already enough pressure on them to be worrying about where they are playing and who they are playing in front of.

"Playing your first Test is always a special occasion. It is something I have never forgotten 140-odd Test matches later."

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