Sydney, Aug 3 (ANI): Australian captain Michael Clarke has said that his side's response at the third Ashes Test from their heavy defeat at Lord's has shown character and has put the 'bellyaching laughter' at his team on hold for some time.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Clarke's highest score of 189 on foreign soil and first century at No.4, capped off by Peter Siddle's double blow, has enhanced Australia's grip at Old Trafford with a lead of 475 runs.
The report further said that Clarke's score helped keep England in the field for nearly two days, with damaging cameos from Mitchell Starc (66 not out) and Brad Haddin (65 not out) powering Australia to 7-527 before Clarke declared shortly after tea on day two.
Although Clarke admitted that he would be still be ridiculed at his belief that Australia could turn around a 2-0 series deficit as they are yet to complete the first assignment in Manchester, he however, said that his team should be proud of the position that they are in now as they have worked exceptionally hard in the lead up to this Test match.
Stating that Australia was rightly criticised for not making enough runs in the first two Test matches, Clarke however, admitted that he is aware that there is still a lot of work for his team with a flat wicket and not much movement for the bowlers, although he hoped that they get a second innings as well to bat at Old Trafford.
According to Clarke, although it is going to take a lot of time to bowl England out, he trusted his bowlers' discipline, adding that he was pleased with the way Nathan Lyon had started despite the spinning wicket and backed him to play a big part in both innings.
The report said that Clarke's deeds not only put a spring in Australia's step, but left England, for once, on the back foot, although the skipper said that he would not judge his century against his other achievements until the match was over as he felt that scoring tons was irrelevant if a team is not winning games.
However, the report mentioned that Clarke's century was complemented by four 'tons' from the home bowlers, with Graeme Swann (5-159) the only one to escape with a return to shout about on a hard, flat wicket crafted for run scoring.
After the batting disasters of the first two Tests - all out for 128 at Lord's and 9-117 at Trent Bridge - Australia's self-belief was in danger of being utterly eroded with another dismal outing in Manchester, the report added. (ANI)