We can’t blame rain for Ashes loss, says Clarke

AUSTRALIA captain Michael Clarke admitted his team had to blame themselves, not the English weather, for their failure to regain the Ashes after the third Test ended in a draw yesterday.

England, chasing 332 to win at Old Trafford yesterday, were left reeling on 35-3 at lunch as the tourists dominated the morning session to blow away fears of a series whitewash.

However, on a day that began 30 minutes late due to rain, just three balls were bowled at the start of the afternoon session before the covers came back on.

Play was abandoned by the umpires at 4.40pm, ensuring England cannot lose the series and therefore retained the Ashes with two Tests to spare.

However Clarke’s frustration was with his team’s defeats in the opening Tests not the rain.

“I certainly don’t want to take anything away from England, they played some really good cricket and deserved to be 2-0 up in the series,” said Clarke, named man of the match for his first innings’ 187.

“That’s the price you pay when you go 2-0 down. In the UK there is always the chance of a bit of rain and we’ve suffered that.

“But I’m proud of the way we’ve come out and fought our backsides off in this Test match.”

Attention now turns immediately to the fourth Test in Durham, which begins on Friday.

And Clarke feels Australia’s target now must be to win the final two Tests and draw the series.

“It will be a great achievement if we leave England 2-2,” added the

32-year-old captain.

“So we’ve got a big job ahead of us and the way we’ve played throughout this Test match we’ve seen some good signs from the team. It’s nice the batters have made a few more runs as well, especially after Lord’s, so our goal is to level the series.”