Clarke to be given time: Darren Lehmann

Michael Clarke will be given “as long as he needs” to find form, according to Australian coach Darren Lehmann.

Clarke admitted he failed to contribute in the side’s eight-wicket loss at Edgbaston, which handed England a 2-1 lead in the Ashes.

The 34-year-old is in the midst of a poor run of form, but confident he will turn things around in the five-Test series.

Bill Lawry remains Australia’s only Test captain to be sacked mid-series.

Lehmann confirmed he and chairman of selectors Rod Marsh would not go down that path.

“As long as he needs, he’s captain. He’s got to play well,” Lehmann said, when asked how long Clarke had to find form.

“He’s a guy that is like all the other batters. It’s not just Michael – it’s our top six.

“Apart from Chris Rogers in the first innings and David Warner in the second, they all struggled (at Edgbaston).

“We’re not going to panic, that’s for sure.”

Lehmann noted Clarke continued lead by example at training and would help keep the squad focused before the fourth Test started on Thursday in Nottingham.

“I can’t complain about the work ethic of any of the players, Michael especially as captain,” he said.

“He sets the tone and raises the bar of what you need to do to play well at this level.

“He needs to bat. He likes that. We’re going to have a day off … then you’ve got to prepare for the next Test.”

Shaun Marsh, with centuries against Kent and Derbyshire on tour, will come into contention for a recall this week.

Adam Voges is likely to be the man to make way if selectors opt to tweak a misfiring middle order.

Voges, man of the match on Test debut (in the West Indies), has largely struggled with the bat in the Ashes.

“Adam got a hundred in his first Test match, so that was what, five Test matches ago?” Lehmann said.

“He’d be disappointed like the other players are.

“It’s a disappointing game for us and we’ve just got to cop the criticism we cop.

“Work out what the best XI is to win the next Test match, which is pretty important.”

Lehmann suggested he would be supportive if Clarke wanted to shuffle down the order to No.5.

Former captain Ricky Ponting suggested that would be a foolish move.

“If Clarke doesn’t bat at four, I think it sends a bad message out of the Australia dressing room,” Ponting told Sky Sports.

“He needs to forget his record at No.5, score runs and take pressure off the younger middle order.

“It will only take a good 20 or 30 for Clarke to turn things around.”

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