Ashes tour: Michael Clarke says Australia can hold their heads high
Australia captain Michael Clarke paid tribute to his side after their 14-run defeat to England in the first Ashes Test.
Last Updated: 14/07/13 5:23pm
The tourists came up just short on a tense final day following a 65-run 10th wicket stand between Brad Haddin (71) and James Pattinson (25no).
"I think the boys can certainly hold their heads high. It was a wonderful game of cricket," said Clarke.
"Credit to England, though. England fought really hard throughout the five days and I think the two best performers of the Test match were Ian Bell getting a hundred and Jimmy Anderson getting a five-for in both innings, so they deserved to win.
"I think everybody, both players and fans of the game, have enjoyed these five days. We would have loved to have won, there is no doubt about it, but we will get another crack in four days so we will look forward to that."
Clarke was also full of praise for Haddin's innings, which was only ended via DRS after he was originally given not out following a slight inside edge to Matt Prior off James Anderson.
He added: "I have said for a long time that all good teams have a good mix of youth and experience and throughout our squad we have got that. Brad showed that today and he played really well."
Australia were forced to rely on their tail-enders in both innings after some disappointing returns from the top order but this did not concern Clarke too much.
He added: "I don't really care how we make the runs as long as we are making them. As a top-order player I would like to be making some more runs myself and leading from the front, but that's the game.
"You see plenty of part-timers taking wickets as well so it's about the team having success. That's our goal and unfortunately we have missed out in this Test match, but we will be prepared for Lord's."
Ashton Agar's 98 on his Test debut was an obvious highlight for the Australians and one that bodes well for the rest of the series, and Clarke had special praise for the 19-year-old.
"Ashton has played really well," he said. "He's an amazing talent, a great kid. He's got a very smart mind. He's a lot older than his age would tell you.
"He loves the game, he's enjoying being around the Australian family, and I think you're going to see a lot more of him."