Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/2/8/hamstring-injury-to-sideline-clarke

Hamstring injury to sideline Clarke

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 2:30PM AEST | by John Greco, Omnisport

Australian skipper Michael Clarke is likely to miss the final one-day international against the West Indies after complaining of hamstring soreness following Friday night's five-wicket win at the SCG.

Clarke aggravated his right hamstring while batting in Australia's run chase, the captain dismissed for 37 as the hosts chased down the Windies total of 220 with 31 balls to spare.

Early indications are the injury is only a minor strain but with Australia already holding a 4-0 lead in the series, the skipper is unlikely to be risked for Sunday's clash at the MCG.

Clarke has battled a similar injury throughout the summer, missing the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka after managing the problem through the earlier Test series.

The Allan Border medallist is expected to meet with the Australian physio on Saturday to assess the injury, and may require scans to learn the full severity.

An injury scare for the in-form batsman is the last thing Australia need with a tough four-Test tour in India starting later this month.

Clarke, who is schedule to fly out for the sub-continent on Monday, skipped the post-match press conference with Mitchell Johnson on hand to talk about another crushing win for Australia.

Johnson took 3-36 as the hosts restricted the West Indies to 220, despite a fighting unbeaten ton by all-rounder Kieron Pollard (109).

With Mitchell Starc - rested for Friday's match - also in strong form with the ball, competition for fast bowling spots for the first Test in Chennai on February 22 is sure to be fierce but Johnson hopes he's stating a strong case.

"I feel my form throughout this ODI tournament has been very good," he said.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen in India. To be fair, we've still got one more game here.

"We want to win five nil so we're almost there and then we can focus on India.

"There's a few fast bowlers bowling well and it's a great thing for Australian cricket.

"Over in India it's very tough conditions to bowl in as a fast bowler but I love challenge of bowling over there in those conditions, especially against a great side."

While Johnson and Ben Cutting (3-45) did the damage with the ball, Shane Watson again starred with the bat at the top of the order.

Fresh from his ton in Canberra on Wednesday, Watson backed it up with 76 off just 84 deliveries to confirm he's back in good touch for the Indian series.

"It's very pleasing to see Shane perform like that, it brings back memories of the year he won the AB medal," Johnson said of Watson.

"The way he batted in Bangladesh where he scored a big 100, it brought flashbacks of that to me.

"It's always exciting to see Shane do so well. I get on really well with him and we've grown up playing a lot of cricket together.

"He's obviously had a lot of issues with injury and for him to do what he's doing now is very pleasing."

If Clarke is ruled out of Sunday's dead-rubber, Watson is expected to take on the captaincy as Australia chases a crushing 5-0 series win.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 08 February, 2013 11:30PM AEST

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