Clarke: We are hurting

Australia

Captain Michael Clarke conceded Australia were entirely disappointed, after some abject batting in the second Test at Lord's and inclement weather in the third at Old Trafford allowed England to retain the Ashes.

Captain Michael Clarke conceded Australia were entirely disappointed, after some abject batting in the second Test at Lord's and inclement weather in the third at Old Trafford allowed England to retain the Ashes.

All out for a mere 128 and 235 in London, the Aussies put in a considerably stronger performance en route to a total of 527 for declared in Manchester – thanks largely to Clarke's outstanding 187.

A second declaration and the early removal of opener Alastair Cook, the out-of-form Jonathan Trott and first-innings centurion Kevin Pietersen later kept the tourists ahead in the contest. Rain, however, had the final say – washing out the final two sessions.

"The way we batted in the first innings at Lord's hurt me as much as anything has in my career, certainly as captain. We got bowled out for 47 against South Africa but at least that wicket was seaming and swinging," said Clarke.

"I thought the Lord's wicket was a fantastic batting wicket in the first innings. We haven't performed anywhere as well as we would have liked. I think we've shown in this Test match that we are here for the challenge and the fight.

"There's no doubt our goal and my goal was to come here and win the Ashes and that hasn't happened. I can guarantee everyone in that changeroom is hurting, it's not a great feeling."

Umpires Marais Erasmus and Tony Hill were arguably premature in their judgement of bad light late on day four, despite the use of floodlights. Clarke, visibly aggrieved by the decision to suspend play at the time, affirmed his stance 24 hours later.

"Sunday afternoon, I thought we were in a pretty good position, there's no doubt about that. The plan was to have somewhere between 20 to 25 overs at England then, and then come and use as many of the 90 overs on Monday to try and bowl them out," he added.

"That wasn't the case. It's unfortunate from an Australian perspective and all the boys in the room are quite disappointed with not being able to get over the line. But in saying that I certainly don't want to take any credit away from England.

"They outplayed us in the first two Test matches, especially at Lord's. You know when you come to the UK there is a chance that rain is going to play a part throughout the series. Getting ourselves into the position of being two-nil down – it was always going to be tough."

The 32-year-old Clarke acknowledged Monday's consolation, which saw a mere 20.3 overs bowled between tiring seamers Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc, Shane Watson and Peter Siddle – and spinner Nathan Lyon.

"Not bowling much on Monday certainly helped them and gave them a day off. I'm confident they are in good hands. Our physiotherapist has been outstanding in getting guys on the park and he'll be working overtime," concluded Clarke.

The fourth – and penultimate Test – will get underway at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street, Durham, on Friday.

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