By Shari Wakefield
Sydney University law student Stuart Clark strengthened his claim for a Test recall as Australia defeated Northamptonshire by 135 runs on Sunday night.
While incumbents Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle leaked six runs an over, Clark tied down the Northamptonshire batsmen with his control and accuracy after a “rusty” beginning.
Clark said he was surprised to have been left out of the opening two Tests. So were many fans at home who watched him take more wickets than any other bowler – Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne included – in the 2006-07 Ashes whitewash.
In another sign he is reaching his peak again, Clark – Australia’s best bowler in this match, even after Andrew McDonald’s late burst – hurried the batsmen with his sharp bounce.
“OK, I don’t bowl as quickly as some of the other guys, but that’s been my game,” he said. “I tend to get in trouble if I stray away from that. I probably get the ball to bounce a little bit more being taller. I’m two or three inches taller than most of the other guys. I think that’s probably my biggest weapon on these wickets. If you can get the ball to bounce as we saw with Freddie (Flintoff) at Lord’s you can be a handful.”
Forgotten all-rounder McDonald, who earlier made 75, was the unlikely match-winner for Australia, claiming 4-15 from 11 overs and completing a run out off his own bowling. But the Victorian is at long odds to overtake Clark in the pecking order.
“As an Australian, there is nothing better than taking on England,” Clark said.