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Clark thanks Anderson for firing Aussies up with heated Perth chat


December 21, 2010 - Sydney

Former Australian fast bowler Stuart Clark has thanked England fast bowler Jimmy Anderson for giving the Australians the required spark to win back the Ashes.

"The Perth Test was the most fiery performance I've seen from an Australian side since the controversial Sydney Test against India in 2008. It was after that match that the players - myself included - were given an unofficial warning from Cricket Australia about our aggressive attitude during several heated on-field exchanges, and the "Spirit of Cricket" issue was debated at length," Clark says in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald.

"Perhaps it took Anderson and his confrontational approach towards the Australians - and in particular Mitchell Johnson - to fire up our players. Johnson suggested as much after his six-wicket performance in the first innings at the WACA Ground, and the image of him standing up to the English batsmen was great to see after the hard time he has endured recently," adds Clark.

He further went on to say that Anderson's approach towards Johnson highlights just how delicate a tactic sledging could be.

There is little point, for example, sledging the great players because the chance of them being put off their game is remote and, more likely, they will play with extra determination. And there are some batsmen, such as Kevin Pietersen, who love confrontation and look for it to fire them up. Silence is better in those situations.

As for others, there are generally two approaches a fielding side takes when it comes to sledging: the old-school, in-your-face method we saw in Perth, and the more subtle tactic of "talking through" a batsman.

The first method is self-explanatory - and the one most likely to attract the match referee's attention - but the second can be just as effective against a batsman with a few self-doubts.

Clark says: "If you are to engage in sledging, you'd better be able to back it up and feel confident enough to withstand it when it is turned on you. It can certainly backfire on you."

He concludes by saying: "Crucially, Australia now has the momentum and needs to build on that from the very first session on Boxing Day. It doesn't always work out that way - we had the momentum after Headingley last year, and that didn't end all that happily for us - but a rousing win like that achieved at the WACA Ground can heal scars, buoy spirits and inspire confidence."

ANI

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