English bowler Graeme Swann says he will take his personal victory over Michael Clarke in the Melbourne Test to the grave.Clarke’s wicket has not been the most tough to procure this series, but it remains the one most prized by Swann, after he struggled to contain the Australian vice-captain’s nimble feet during the 2009 Ashes.Charged with finding a way past Clarke as England closed in on success at the MCG, Swann posted a second slip and looped the ball across Clarke from around the wicket.
The resultant edge was gleefully pouched by touring captain Andrew Strauss, and Swann had no hesitation taking full credit for his ingenuity.”It is always satisfying when you come up with a plan and it works straight away and Straussy won’t mind me saying it was 100 per cent my idea to put him at second slip and bowl around the wicket – if he says otherwise then that is bollocks,” Swann said.”I don’t get many pieces of inspiration and brilliance but that was one of them and I will take that to my grave with me. It was very pleasing.”
The memories of 2009 still loom large in Swann’s memory, for there were times when he was made to look toothless by Clarke and others, before finally gaining some traction during the pivotal final Test at the Oval.He has since risen to far greater heights, and has contained the Australian’s in a similar way to what John Emburey and Phil Edmonds managed during England’s last Ashes success on these shores in 1986-87.”I think Michael Clarke is the best bowler I’ve bowled to in Test cricket, the way he has played, especially in England in the last Ashes,” Swann said.
“So good on his feet, he goes so late. Hussey played me very well at the start of the series, but he didn’t need to in Brisbane because I bowled badly. But he’s played some exceptional cricket.”They are both very fine players of spin because they go down the wicket very late and once you’ve let go of the ball you can’t do anything about it.”