After winning the Ashes series 3-2 against Australia, England has climbed three spots to third position in the global Cricket Council Test team rankings.
While Clarke, who has now retired from all cricket, admitted England deserved their victory, he hinted that unfair pressure had been applied to the groundsmen to prepare wickets that would favor the home team.
England now faces two tough Test tours, against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and to South Africa, before the end of the year. At the time of going to print, he was batting on 62.
“Are we near the peak?”
“But, as I said, we have won the Ashes and nobody can take that away from us, no matter how badly we play in this game”.
Australia, after losing the toss, had piled up 481 in their first innings.
Among all series of five or more Tests in which each game has had a decisive result, only twice have there been fewer balls bowled: in the West Indies-England series in the West Indies in 1985-86, when only 7699 deliveries were bowled, and the 2001 Ashes in England (7868 balls).
Cook said: “I think both sides have been off it in terms of intensity in this Test but credit to their character – we haven’t played well at all”.
“We showed grit and fighting spirit and the Australian brand of cricket we want to play”.
“I’ve been really lucky to play with some fantastic players and guys that have given the team everything – and Chris is certainly one of those – so I’ve enjoyed every minute”.
Cook’s dismissal, caught at short leg off the part-time leg-spin of Steve Smith two overs before the close, means Buttler will start out alongside night watchman Mark Wood, who has yet to score.
Recalled Australia fast bowler Peter Siddle was happy with his contribution after the tourists moved to the brink of victory over England in the final Ashes Test at The Oval on Saturday.
It left England all out for 286 and neither side appeared to know how to feel at the conclusion of a Test won by Australia in a series won by England.
“It would be great if we could get out of this, and a bit of rain would be great”.
Alastair Cook’s squad have defied the odds and the experts to beat a much-fancied Australia team in the Investec Series and get revenge for a 5-0 whitewash Down Under 18 months ago.
Australia boasts three of the top four run-scorers in the series and four of the five leading wicket-takers.