Clarke: Confidence is steadily growing

Australia

Australia captain Michael Clarke was more verbose than usual ahead of the fourth Ashes Test, speaking at length about why his players were more confident going into the Durham encounter than they had been before.

Australia captain Michael Clarke was more verbose than usual ahead of the fourth Ashes Test, speaking at length about why his players were more confident going into the Durham encounter than they had been before.

The Aussies nearly won the third Test in Manchester, but had to settle for a draw when the rain arrived early on day five, with England battling on 37 for three. The rain didn't let up, giving England an escape.

The hosts' top three have not been up to their usual standards in this series, for the most part, and Clarke was pleased that his bowlers had been doing consistently well, and hoped this would continue at the Riverside Ground.

Clarke said: "It's nice to be getting a few of their top order out cheaply. They are obviously very good players but it's going to continue to take a lot of hard work and some very good execution from our bowlers to continue that going forward.

"I'm not silly enough to put the mockers on any of their batters so let's just hope from the bowling side of things for us, that we continue to take 20 wickets for the least amount of runs possible. That will give us the best chance of winning the Test.

"All the boys took a lot of confidence out of that last match. I think we all believe, and I guess you never know in this game, that if the rain didn't play a part throughout that whole match that we would have won that Test.

"We've taken a lot of positives, guys have scored some runs which is really encouraging, and our bowlers continue to do a fantastic job for us, so in regards to momentum we're going to try and run with that, the boys are full of confidence now and our goal is to continue to play that brand of cricket starting on Friday.

"As a team the one area we continue to talk about is consistency in all forms of the game, especially when we are out of Australia, in different conditions. Tomorrow and the next five days are another good test where we are at with that. I was really pleased with the way we played in Manchester but the good teams back it up.

"I don't know if it (our momentum) is any more than England's, they'll be taking the positives that they are 2-0 up and can't lose the Ashes, but I think they way we played in Manchester has certainly built the momentum for us and plenty of confidence is flowing in our camp.

"But as a batsman, you always start on zero and as a bowler you start with no wickets so it's about our consistent performance and backing up what we did there.

"It's always nice to be here, Durham's a wonderful place to play cricket. I've been lucky enough to play some one-day cricket up here.

"We've got Michael di Venuto as our batting coach who has obviously spent a lot of time here and is very complimentary of the place and I think the boys have had a good time so far. I'm looking forward to the Test match."

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