Clarke: Ireland will be tough opponents
Australia will leave no stone unturned in their preparation for tomorrow’s one-off one-day international against Ireland despite the threat of rain washing out the contest in Belfast.
Ireland’s hopes of staging a glamour contest with the world’s top-ranked 50-over side appear to be at the mercy of the weather after today's gloomy conditions were forecast to continue tomorrow.
Despite that, Clarke revealed his side were set to conduct an intensive video review of their opposition - who almost pulled off a shock win last time they met two years ago.
Openers Paul Stirling and William Porterfield crashed 80 from the first 10 overs before a middle-order collapse saw Ireland fall 39 runs short of a maiden win over Australia.
Clarke made a duck that day and he admitted his side did not view Ireland simply as a warm-up game ahead of their five-match NatWest Series against England.
“We’re here to play. We’ve got a meeting today looking at footage of the Irish team and we’ll be 100% prepared for tomorrow,” Clarke said.
“The one thing that impresses me most about Ireland is the way they play as a team.
“I think we’ve seen over the past couple of years that they all have their roles to play and when they do that they are a tough team to beat and they’ll be even tougher in their own conditions.
“We will look at the players individually; how they go about their work, their strengths and weaknesses when we get back to the hotel.
“But, as a whole, the reason they have had success in the past is because they do come together as a team. We’ll have to play some really good cricket tomorrow to beat them, if this rain disappears.”
Australia opened their tour with a comfortable 102-run win on the Duckworth/Lewis method over Leicestershire at Grace Road yesterday.
David Warner smashed 74 before he retired to set up a score of 241 for eight, from 41 overs, that proved too much for their hosts when right-arm seamer Clint McKay grabbed 4-31.
All of Australia’s front-line bowlers were able to grab a wicket except for Mitchell Johnson in his first run-out following a long-term foot injury.
In his absence young quicks Pat Cummins and James Pattinson have jumped ahead of the 30-year-old in the pecking order.
Coach Mickey Arthur has previously admitted Johnson faces a battle to recover his place as the leader of the attack, but Clarke welcomed the return of a player who at his best is almost unplayable.
“It’s obviously great to have Mitch back in the squad, he’s obviously done a lot of work since he was injured to get back into the squad and I thought he bowled pretty well yesterday,” Clarke said.
“I think he’ll be doing everything in his power to get picked in the XI players, if not for tomorrow’s game then for the series against England.
“He’s off to a good start, he’s fit and strong and back bowling at a really good pace. I think he got off to a really good start yesterday.”