31st January 2011, 01:50 AM
Clarke not bothered by boos
MELBOURNE (AFP) - Embattled Australian captain Michael Clarke said he had no concerns about being booed by local fans in Sunday's one-day international win against England at Brisbane's Gabba ground.
Clarke received a harsh response from the home fans when he came out to bat in the match, which Australia won by 51 runs to secure the seven-match series by taking an unbeatable 4-1 lead.
The 29-year-old went on to top score for Australia with 54 in a sign of a return to form and after the match said he was not bothered by the boos.
"Obviously you would like people to be cheering but I can understand why a few of them are booing," he said.
"I haven't performed as well as I would like so I don't blame the public for being disappointed with my performances.
"It was nice to finally contribute and help the boys get a win -- it's a great feeling."
He hit ODI debutant Steve Finn for successive fours early in his innings to break the shackles of uncertainty on his way to scoring only his second half-century for Australia this season.
The right-hander has struggled in all forms of the game and stepped down from the captaincy of the Australian Twenty20 team because of his poor form.
He made just 193 runs at 21.44 in the Ashes Test series, and had scored 70 runs at 17.50 in the ODI series before Sunday.
But his captaincy record in ODIs is strong, with 17 wins and just six defeats.
Although he said he "wouldn't dare" declare the slump was over, Clarke said he never doubted he would turn his form around.
"I felt I had been hitting the ball pretty well -- I felt I was getting there," he said.
"It was just nice tonight to get off to a faster start which allowed me to not stress about how many balls I was facing, and just keep batting."
Both teams emerged from the match with fresh injury worries.
Australian batsman Shaun Marsh, who made a sparkling century batting at six in the second game of the series, but who has failed in all three innings at number three, hurt a hamstring and was unable to field.
The injury-plagued Marsh was not named in Australia's World Cup squad, but is on standby for wounded veterans Mike Hussey (hamstring) and Ricky Ponting (finger).
Emerging England paceman Ajmal Shahzad, part of England's World Cup squad, also hurt his hamstring while bowling, pulling up sore late in the Australian innings.
He bowled four more deliveries after pulling up, but then limped from the field at the end of the over.
Chris Tremlett also missed Sunday's match with a side strain.
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