Nottingham: Australia captain Michael Clarke could have been forgiven for cutting a disconsolate figure at Trent Bridge on Sunday, after watching his side lose the first Ashes test by just 14 runs against England.
Instead, Clarke felt Australia had proved a point to the pundits who had predicted England would walk the series 5-0.
“I hope we get a bit of respect by the way we’ve played,” Clarke said. “People who’ve written us off, I think we might have showed enough to change their minds. I think our boys should hold their heads high.”
The tourists were just 15 runs away from winning the test and also breaking the record for the highest successful run chase by a last wicket test pairing. Brad Haddin and James Pattinson put on 65 for the final wicket, taking their team from 231-9 to 296. As the run chase failed, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mushtaq Ahmed still hold the record with a 57-run partnership in Pakistan’s victory over Australia in 1994.
Australia’s pursuit was thwarted when Haddin was given out for 71 after a referral. Australia’s optimistic use of the Decision Review System proved pivotal in this game as, having wasted their two referrals, they were unable to overturn Aleem Dar’s call when he gave Stuart Broad not out in England’s second innings when the batsman was on 37. Broad went on to score 65 having stood his ground, despite having clearly edged the ball to Clarke. Clarke said he, rather than Dar, was to blame.
“If I’d used my reviews better, I’d have had an opportunity to correct it when there was a howler,” Clarke said. “I don’t think the test was decided on one DRS decision. There were plenty of times when we could have done things better. We’ll learn from that.”
The tense finale drew comparisons with the second Ashes test at Edgbaston in 2005, when England had seemed to be on course for a comfortable win, only for Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz to put on 59 for the final wicket.
Australia needed just three runs to win when Kasprowicz gloved Steve Harmison behind to Geraint Jones to seal a win that instantly became part of Ashes folklore. Clarke was the only player to have played in both games and he said Sunday’s action was harder to take.
“I can’t remember Edgbaston well,” Clarke said. “Well, I can, but I just don’t want to. I was a youngster then but it probably does hurt you more when you’re captain and you care so much about the guys around you. I guess part of my job now is to make sure the boys are up and ready for what’s happening in four days’ time.”
England takes a 1-0 into the second test at Lord’s, which starts on Thursday.