Australia captain Michael Clarke is satisfied with his side's outing in the two warm-up games leading to the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham starting Wednesday. Australia won their first practice game against Somerset by six wickets last week and then played out a draw against Worcestershire in their second four-day warm-up that ended on Friday.
"Both tour games have been outstanding for us. Every player has had a good hit out in the middle, both batters and bowlers. Regarding our preparation everyone is just about as ready as they can be with two days of practice in Nottingham," said Clarke after the game at the County Ground, Worcester on Friday.
Clarke, who was short of batting practice leading up to the high-profile series found timely form via a stroke-filled 124 from 98 balls in the second innings to go along with a 62 in the first innings against the Worcs. Clarke says the time he spent in the middle was more crucial than the runs he scored.
"More than the runs, I think the time in the middle was crucial. I've been slowly building up time at the center and it's always nice to make a hundred in any form of the game. I think I am getting back to full batting form, which is nice," the 32-year-old said.
The New South Welshman, who missed all the matches of the ICC Champions Trophy last month due to a back injury, says he is happy with his fitness levels.
"My fitness levels are improving day by day. My whole body though has been a little stiff for the last couple of days. I'm getting used to four-day cricket now and in general I'm feeling really good," he added.
Both the practice games saw Clarke batting at the No.4 position in the batting order. However, the right-hander says that may not absolute going into the Ashes.
"Not sure where I'll bat in the order, I'll have to wait and see what playing XI the selectors give and depending on that my position will be decided. Sure, I've got some success batting at No.5 for the last two years but I never said that I prefer to be at No.5. I've batted my whole career at No.4 in first class cricket. I'll bat wherever it suits the team and this match will be no different."
Back troubles has forced Clarke to give his left-arm spin bowling a backseat in the last two seasons or so. Clarke, more than handy with ball with a Test best of 6 for 9 against India in 2003-04, says he is hoping that his services with the ball won't be needed by the Australians in the Ashes.
"Regarding my bowling, I did not roll my arm over due to my back. I hope I'm not required to bowl in the Ashes but if need be I'll be able to roll my arm over," he said.