Ashes 2013: Michael Clarke claims there is not 'much of a gap' between England and Australia

The hosts retained the Ashes yesterday after the third Test was drawn

Australia captain Michael Clarke denied there was any gulf in class between his side and England despite conceding the Ashes in just 14 days.

Rain on the final day of the third Investec Test in Manchester yesterday ensured England got the draw they needed to retain the little urn.

Australia have not conceded the Ashes this early in a series since 1929, but Clarke believes the speed with which his side's bid has evaporated was not reflective of the parity between the teams.

"I think we outplayed England in this Test match and I think England outplayed us in the first two Test matches," he said.

"I don't see much of a gap at all."

After allowing England to race into a 2-0 series lead, Australia were certainly the dominant force at Old Trafford only for the weather to spare the hosts a final-day battle with the bat.

Alastair Cook's side had slipped to 37 for three shortly after lunch before watching the clouds close in.

"You know when you come to the UK there is a chance that rain is going to play a part throughout the series," Clarke said.

"Getting ourselves into the position of being 2-0 down - it was always going to be tough coming back from that.

"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."

Australia will now be tasked with trying to square a series that moves to Chester-le-Street in Durham on Friday.

Clarke believes the improvements made this week, especially amongst his batsmen, will ensure Australia are capable of heading home for the reverse series this winter with a 2-2 scoreline.

"That's definitely our goal," he said.

"If we can level the series we will take a lot of confidence back to Australia.

"I'm confident if we play the type of cricket that we have through the four days here that we will give it a real good shake."

Clarke hinted that Shane Watson could be pushed down the order for the fourth Test in favour of David Warner.

Watson dropped to four in the second innings in Manchester, as Australia chased quick runs, but it is a situation that could remain after the 32-year-old has so far struggled to impose himself at the top of the order.

"It's a tough one. It's working out what is best for the team and giving Watto the opportunity to play where he feels most comfortable," he said.

"If he's scoring runs and taking wickets it goes a long way towards helping us win Test matches.

"We'll continue to talk and assess what's the best for the team.

"Shane understood my reasoning for opening the batting with Davey in the second innings and was more than happy to move to number four.

"He has made it very clear that wherever I would like him to bat he will certainly do that for the team."

Clarke also played down any suggestion Australia were unhappy with any perceived delaying tactics by England during the Test in Manchester.

"I don't think it had any effect on the game at all," he said. "It's irrelevant."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US