Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke believes his team can hit back in the return Ashes series at home despite losing 0-3 in England.

While the captain admitted England deserved the win, he suggested his side was taking shape for the return series, signalling a much closer battle in November.

“I think we take a lot of positives especially out of the last three Test matches,” Clarke told reporters after the fifth Test ended in a dramatic draw on Sunday.

“Maybe I’m biased but I think we would have won in Manchester if it didn’t rain.”

Clarke was particularly pleased with the performance of Steve Smith and Chris Rogers and the return to form of Shane Watson, who scored a career-best 178 at The Oval.

“I’m really pleased with the boys, some special personal achievements I think. Obviously Chris Rogers and Steve Smith to score their first hundreds for Australia is outstanding.”

Clarke said Shane Watson had made his highest Test score.

“Shane Watson batted beautifully for a big hundred and our bowlers fought their backsides off for the whole series,” he added.

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