Clarke dodges DRS discussions
Australia captain Michael Clarke is ready to move on from the Decision Review System (DRS) controversy.
Clarke has revealed he skipped Wednesday night's clear-the-air meeting with the International Cricket Council.
Clarke was due to join his England counterpart Alastair Cook, as well as team officials, in discussions with ICC troubleshooter Geoff Allardice to review a subject that has already earned its fair share of column inches.
Both Australia and England have sought clarification from the ICC during the series over the way DRS is being handled - specifically Hot Spot - prompting Allardice to be flown in ahead of the fourth Investec Test which starts at Chester-le-Street on Friday.
But while Cook reported back that the meeting had been worthwhile, Clarke revealed he had not been moved to attend.
"I didn't attend the meeting last night. I had no need to be there," Clarke said.
"Geoff had a meeting with our team manager (Gavin Dovey) and (coach) Darren Lehmann went as well, but I didn't attend."
Asked if he had sought any feedback from what was discussed, he added: "I haven't had a discussion with them about it, no."
Clarke's apparent fatigue over the subject came amid fresh claims from Australian television station Channel 9 that the Hot Spot inventor Warren Brennan told the ICC last week that he has "serious concerns" over apparent flaws in the thermal-imaging system.
Channel Nine claimed Brennan aired his concerns in a meeting with Allardice, including the silicone tape allegations that have subsequently been roundly denied.
It has also been reported in Australia that Brennan has been prohibited from publicly speaking any further on the subject - an allegation the ICC could not confirm to Press Association Sport.
The ICC did confirm, however, in a statement that Hot Spot would continue to be used for the remaining two Tests.
It is news that Clarke was reluctant to discuss, instead preferring to focus on his side's determination to level a series they trail 2-0.
"I'd prefer not to talk about it anymore," Clarke added.
"I think you guys have had a couple of days to write and talk about it but for me the focus has to be about cricket.
"The information I have is that nothing has changed from the first three Test matches in regards to tomorrow's Test. So it's move forward and get on with the game.
"There's been enough good cricket played in this series and there's a huge Test match for the Australian team starting tomorrow so I'd like the focus to be on the match in front of us."
The task in front of Australia is to build on the momentum they earned last week in Manchester, when rain on the final day prevented them from pushing for victory.
Clarke's side dominated at Emirates Old Trafford to provide reasonable belief they could yet escape with a series draw, if not the Ashes urn.
"That's our priority to try and level the series. That's our priority," he said.
"I think any time you can have success against a team you can build momentum for what lies ahead.
"All the boys took a lot of confidence out of the last Test match. We all believe, and you never know in this game, but we believed that if the rain didn't take part throughout the whole Test match we would have won that Test.
"We're pretty clear on our views that we want to leave here with a 2-2 draw - if the rain stays away."
Australia's only major selection decision tomorrow morning will be whether to include seamer Jackson Bird for his Ashes debut.
With just four-day turnaround from the Manchester Test the tourists will assess the fitness of their quicks before making a final call.
Should Bird win selection Clarke has backed the Tasmanian, who won his two Test caps in the winter, to prove a handful on a pitch likely to suit his style.
"He's showed through his career back in Australia that he's had success in Hobart where the ball has moved around," he said.
"But I think his statistics away from home are just as good and we've got some pretty flat wickets in Australia.
"This wicket is extremely dry. It might go up and down as the game goes on.
"If it is overcast I do know that in Durham the ball can swing and certainly seam.
"If he is given an opportunity I'm sure he'll find a way to have success in any conditions."