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July 14, 2013
News : England not dependent on Anderson - Cook
Features : Haddin epitomises Australia fight
Report : Inspired Anderson puts England 1-0 up
Jarrod Kimber : It was Jimmy who done it
Mark Nicholas : World changes for Ashton and Australia
Players/Officials: Michael Clarke
Matches: England v Australia at Nottingham
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of England and Scotland
Australia's crestfallen captain Michael Clarke believes his team have regained respect and credibility as contenders for the Ashes urn over the course of a wondrous, winding match at Trent Bridge, even if it concluded with the searing pain of a fifth consecutive Test defeat for the tourists.
Clarke and the rest of the team were clearly hurt by a loss that arrived in cruel circumstances 12 minutes after lunch on the final day. Having added 65 with the last man James Pattinson to take the tourists to within 15 runs of victory, Brad Haddin was given out on a decision referral after the thinnest of edges behind from the bowling of the Man of the Match, James Anderson.
But Clarke insisted his men had proved they were going to give England an awful fright, defying the expectations of many before the series began, and also going some way towards redeeming themselves after the humiliations of the India tour earlier this year.
"I think we've probably proved to a few people that we're here to compete," Clarke said. "I said it on day one and I'm not surprised at how close we got. I'm disappointed that we couldn't get over the line and I said last night that I still thought we could win the Test match.
"So we as a team are disappointed we haven't won this first Test but I hope we've earned a bit of respect by the way we've played. That's what's important. Our team is going to give our all every single time we take the field. We're here to win this series.
"We know it's going to be tough and we've just experienced that over five days but for the people that have written us off or did write us off before a ball was bowled, I think we might have changed a few of their minds."
The wicket of Haddin brought back memories of the similarly epic Edgbaston Test of 2005, which resulted in a two-run win for England after Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz put on 59 for the last wicket.
Back then, Clarke was a precocious young batsman in a team of greats. Now he must find a way of ensuring the trauma of the Nottingham defeat does not envelop a team far less experienced or confident than the side of eight years ago ahead of a second Test at Lord's that is a mere four days away.
"I can't remember '05. Well, I can but I just don't want to," Clarke said. "I was a lot younger then so it's hard to compare. It probably does hurt you more when you are captain because I guess you're a little bit older and I care so much about the guys that I'm surrounded by.
"Not that I didn't care back then but I was the youngster watching and learning where now I'm trying to help get the guys up on a daily basis and make sure that even when they're down that they're not too down."
He also had words of praise for the teenage debutant Ashton Agar, whose 98 at No. 11 in the first innings brought the Test alive. "He has played really well," Clarke said. "He is an amazing talent, no doubt about it. He is a great kid with a very smart mind - he is older than his age will tell you. He is enjoying being around the team and I think you are going to see a lot more of him."
The final act of the match, with its delayed resolution and reliance on technology, was symbolic of how the DRS had cast a considerable shadow over the contest. But it also illustrated how England used the system more effectively than their counterparts.
Alastair Cook still had two referrals up his sleeve when he decided to review the Haddin decision, while on day three Clarke had burned his own before the umpire Aleem Dar failed to spot a clear edge from Stuart Broad to slip. Clarke acknowledged he had to show better judgment in the future.
"That is the way the system is. If I had used my reviews better then I have an opportunity to use it when there is a howler like that," Clarke said. "We've still got two umpires on the field. They are the most important people out on the ground and they make their decisions. I have been brought up to live with the decision of those guys.
"The advantage you have now, especially as a batsman, is that if you think you didn't hit the ball, you have the chance to refer it. Sometimes you find out you did hit it, like in my case, other times you find out you were right. That's how the games is and you learn to live with it."
How Clarke and Australia learn to live with their defeat at Trent Bridge will be known at Lord's on Thursday morning.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala