ALL OVER: Michael Clarke.
ALL OVER: Michael Clarke.

Retiring captain Clarke lauded for his courage

ONE of the few happy Australians at Trent Bridge after England took just 40 minutes on day three to wrap up the fourth Test and regain the Ashes, was New South Welshman Trevor Bayliss.

The man given the task of making England competitive again after a disastrous World Cup campaign, Bayliss said his team had laid the foundation for a period of prosperity.

"It's been a fantastic effort by the England players. I know how good these Australia players are," Bayliss told Test Match Special.

"We have got some things we've got to work on, but if they keep improving, the future is bright."

Over in the Australian camp, the mood was much gloomier.

Not only had the Ashes been lost in the most emphatic fashion, skipper Michael Clarke also chose the moment to fall on his sword, announcing he would retire from international cricket following the fifth Test at The Oval.

The news prompted a flow of tributes, Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland saying Clarke would be remembered for his bravery in trying circumstances both on and off the field.

"I think he will be remembered for his courage and the way he played the game," Sutherland told reporters yesterday.

"I guess in terms of surprise, it can come to an end quite quickly.

"The thing for him that I'm pleased about is that he's a great Australian cricketer who goes out on his own terms, not necessarily playing as well or playing in a winning team like he would like to be.

"But he is making a decision that the time is right and I think his judgment is appropriate."

Sutherland also said Clarke would be remembered for the way he fought back from injury to lead Australia to victory in the World Cup, and also for his leadership in the wake of the tragic death of teammate Phillip Hughes.

"I think one thing I would like to add and touch on there is, let's not forget the summer of cricket that he had last year, and the challenges that he had obviously with the death of Philip Hughes, and in many ways leading the country out of their mourning," he said.

"To come back and make runs, to then do his hamstring and have that tight timeline to get himself right to be fit for the World Cup, to get himself playing and to then to lead the country to a World Cup win, it must have been a very emotional and very difficult time for him.

"I think some people will probably overlook just what a huge burden he carried through the summer of 2013, 14-15."

- APN SPORTS BUREAU



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