Cricket: Clarke upbeat over Ashes chances

Australian captain Michael Clarke Ashes third test

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Australian captain Michael Clarke praised his team-mates for their efforts and believes his side can still pull off an unlikely Ashes series win in third Test on Friday.

Australia are 2-0 down in the series, after a narrow defeat at Trent Bridge and a drubbing at Lord’s, but they have the whip hand at Old Trafford thanks to an excellent batting display led by Clarke himself.

Clarke made 187, his best ever Ashes knock, before being bowled by Stuart Broad who finally got to the milestone of 200 Test wickets with the dismissal of the Aussie skipper.

The Aussies made 527-7 declared in their first innings with England 52-2 at stumps and Clarke was delighted with their efforts.

He said: “We’ve copped a little bit of criticism after the first two Tests. But the side has shown a lot of character and we should be extremely proud of the position we are in.”

Clarke said prior to the third Test that his side could still win the series if they got their act together and another day of dominance on Saturday would see a few more fans starting to believe him.

The day was not without its controversy, and the competence of the umpiring was again called into question after Tim Bresnan, England’s night watchman, was given out by umpire Marais Erasmus after the ball hit his pocket to leave England rueing the fact they did not review the decision.

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