Michael Clarke can ease Australia's batting woes at three

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The thumping that England handed Australia at Lord's was not so much a result of an exquisite performance from a strong English team, but more so a self-destruction from a poor Australian outfit.

The problem is, these batsmen are the best Australia have got. The end of a golden era for Australian cricket has highlighted the bleak underbelly of the Australian domestic scene, and the nation's inability to reproduce batsmen of the same quality of those who we have seen dominate the game for the last two decades. In fairness, it's no easy task producing another Ponting, Hayden, Hussey or Waugh.

There are three tests left against England in this Ashes series, and another five in the upcoming Australian summer, so the Aussies have to work with what they've got to avoid further embarrassment and salvage whatever small piece of dignity is left of the nation's cricket brand.

Whilst short-term strategies seem to be ineffective, something needs to happen quickly for there to be any contest at Old Trafford next month.

With the main issue in the Australian team being the frequent top order collapses, Australian skipper Michael Clarke may need to step up and bat at the much coveted number three position. There is no doubt that Clarke is by far the best batsmen in the team. We saw glimpses of his skill in the second innings at Lord's as he used his dashing feet and quick wrists to negate the dangerous off-spin of Graeme Swann before succumbing rather softly to the part-timer Joe Root.

Clarke has never batted at three, and has had huge success in his current position at five, whilst often struggling whenever promoted to four. But with Australia losing their sixth consecutive test match, Clarke may need to put the statistics behind him and lead from the front. 

And, with his technique and temperament, there is no reason to why he cannot enjoy success at first drop.

If Clarke did manage to replicate the success of other world-class number threes in the world, such as Hashim Amla or Jonathan Trott, the middle order may find themselves coming in during more prosperous scenarios, rather than trying to rebuild from broken starts.

However, the batting woes for Australia will not disappear overnight. Legends are not created in a day, and it takes time for youthful players to galvanise as part of a team in pressure situations. But we are in the midst of an Ashes series, and regardless of how good your bowling attack is, if there aren't any runs on the board, then it's impossible to win test matches. 

And, whilst the Australians must be patient in trying to put together a competitive team, there is nothing to lose in putting your best batsmen at three.

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Australia cricket
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Michael Clarke

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