Clarke, Pattinson out of tri-series decider
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) Injured skipper Michael Clarke has been ruled out of the tri-series decider against Sri Lanka and could miss the limited-overs segment of the West Indies tour later this month.
Australia coach Mickey Arthur announced Wednesday that Clarke (left hamstring) and paceman James Pattinson (buttock muscle strain) would miss Thursday's third tri-series final at Adelaide. Clarke scored 117 in the second match, but Sri Lanka won by eight wickets to level the series.
Clarke is only two matches into a comeback from a right hamstring strain that kept him out for three matches in the league stage of the tournament. His absence is a major setback for Australia, which has lost four of its last five ODIs against Sri Lanka.
"It doesn't look great for certainly the early part of the one-day series in the West Indies," Arthur said of Clarke's availability.
Allrounder and regular vice-captain Shane Watson led the Australians in the absence of Clarke immediately before the tri-series finals started, and former skipper Ricky Ponting led the team in two league matches during the tournament but has subsequently been told by selectors that he'll no longer be considered for ODI selection. Watson is just returning from almost three months on the sidelines with his own injuries, and hasn't returned in peak form.
Clarke, who replaced Ponting as captain last April, was recently voted Australia's player of the year and has been in outstanding form with the bat in the ODI and test formats.
The Australian squad departs Friday for the Caribbean, where it will play five one-day matches against the West Indies - the first three in Kingstown, St. Vincent on March 16, 18 and 20. The final two matches are scheduled for Gros Islet, St. Lucia on March 23 and 25.
Australia and the West Indies will then play two Twenty20 internationals before the three-test series starting April 7 at Bridgetown, Barbados.
Updated March 7, 2012