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Clarke pleased to silence doubters

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Michael Clarke

Stand-in skipper Michael Clarke's 82 from 70 balls proved pivotal as Australia overhauled England's commanding total of 333 for six

Michael Clarke feels he has silenced a number of his critics after top-scoring in Australia’s last two one-day international victories against England.

The 29-year-old has become the focus of criticism in Australia and was booed to the crease during Sunday’s victory at the Gabba, when he hit 54.

But, after receiving a rousing reception from his hometown crowd, Clarke produced the decisive innings as he hit 82 from 70 balls in Sydney today.

While he was not able to see his side over the line, after he was run out by Trott with seven needed, his side snuck home when John Hastings’ inside edge ran to the boundary in the final over from Chris Woakes.

“To make some runs is always satisfying and it's great to make them in front of my family and friends, my home crowd,” he said.

“I love playing at the SCG. Like I've said before I've had a lot of support from a lot of people. They just don't happen to be in the paper.

“That's the way it goes. It's nice to make runs. I think the crowd were just excited that Australia won another game. We go to Perth tomorrow and try to win the series 6-1.”

Clarke said the chase would stand the team in good stead for their World Cup defence on the sub-continent.

“The boys are stoked. It's a huge win for us and again we can take a lot of confidence from that run chase going into the World Cup,” he added.

Steven Smith

Steven Smith will not travel with the Australia team to Perth tomorrow due to a hip injury that left him requiring a runner at the SCG today

“I think there's going to be some pretty big scores in the World Cup, some pretty flat wickets similar to that.

“I think you’re going to have to get used to chasing some big totals. It's great practice for us.”

Clarke also revealed that all-rounder Steven Smith would not travel with the team to Perth tomorrow due to a hip injury that left him needing the use of a runner in Australia's chase.

Left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty was earlier ruled out for the final match of the series due to a sore back.

Doherty suffered the injury during the Australia Day defeat in Adelaide and, after missing the following two games in Brisbane and Sydney, will not make the trip for Sunday’s closing match.

“Xavier Doherty developed some back pain during the one-day game in Adelaide on Australia Day and did not train in Brisbane which allowed his symptoms to improve,” Australia team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said.

“He attempted some light training yesterday in Sydney and his back was again painful. As such he is unavailable for the remaining two games of this series.

“His return to cricket will be determined by monitoring his recovery over the next week.”

Doherty had been drafted into the squad after Nathan Hauritz injured a shoulder in the second match of the series in Hobart.

With Hauritz’s involvement in the World Cup in doubt, Doherty has been earmarked as his possible replacement in the sub-continent, although his injury may set back Australia’s plans.

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