Ashes 2013: Michael Clarke ‘proud’ of Australia’s first innings effort

Ashes 2013: Michael Clarke says Australia should be "really proud" of their first innings after finishing day two 475 runs ahead

Michael Clarke declared Australia should be “really proud” of their first innings total after the tourists finished 475 runs ahead of England on day two at Old Trafford.

The Aussies captain top scored with an impressive 187 runs, while Steve Smith, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Starc all racked up half-centuries before Australia declared on 527-7.

And Clarke’s men converted their dominance with the ball too as Peter Siddle dismissed the star of the second Test, Joe Root, and nightwatchman Tim Bresnan to leave England on 52-2 at the close of play.

“All the boys should be really proud to make over 500 and then come back out in the field and get some early wickets,” Clarke told BBC Sport.

“How good was my innings? Ask me in three more days. If we win then it’s a good innings. If not it’s a waste of time. It is always nice to make a big hundred but we’ve got three more tough days to go.”

Looking forward to day three, Clarke admitted Australia, like England, were going to have a battle on their hands to get “traditional wickets” as the Wallabies look to prevent the hosts winning the series.

Clarke added: “The ball is a lot softer so it will be tougher to get traditional wickets of three slips and a gully.

“It will be more shorter cover, lbw, bowled. Hopefully Nathan Lyon can continue to bowl like he did this evening because he bowled extremely well.

“I probably would have liked to declare before tea but I thought the extra 20 runs might come in handy in the second innings.”

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