Michael Clarke was out for just 15 against England on the first day of the fifth Ashes test at The Oval yesterday in what was set to be the Australia captain’s penultimate innings in international cricket. Clarke, one of the best batsmen of his generation but in the middle of a prolonged dip in form, fell when he was caught behind by wicket-keeper Jos Buttler off a rising delivery from pace bowling all-rounder Ben Stokes that cut away off the seam. Kumar Dharmasena gave Clarke out but, after consulting vice-captain and non-striker Steven Smith, the batsman reviewed the Sri Lankan umpire’s decision. But Indian replay official S Ravi upheld Dharmasena’s decision after technology indicated a thin nick and Australia were 186 for three. Clarke faced 29 balls in 42 minutes yesterday, driving off-spinner Moeen Ali down the ground for the only four of his innings. Prior to this match, Clarke announced he would be retiring from international duty after the end of the fifth test. He walked on the field to a standing ovation from a capacity crowd and through a guard of honour from the England team. Clarke received another rousing reception as he headed back to the dressing room, but the spectators’ applause could not mask the 34-year-old’s lack of runs. Yesterday’s exit meant Clarke had reached 25 just six times in his last 31 test innings. It also left him with a meagre tally for this Ashes series of 132 runs in nine innings at an average of 16.50. This compares with Clarke’s excellent career record of 8,643 test runs, including 28 hundreds, in 115 matches at an average of 49.10. Only Ricky Ponting, Allan Border and Stephen Waugh – all former captains – have scored more test runs for Australia than Clarke. Adding to Clarke’s batting woes this series has been the fact that England, 3-1 up in the five-match series, have already regained the Ashes regardless of the result at The Oval. Clarke, plagued by a chronic back problem throughout his career and struggling of late with hamstring trouble, will bow out of international cricket having never won a test series in England. The New South Wales shotmaker is also the first Australian to be on the losing side in four successive Ashes series in England in more than a century.