NOTTINGHAM, England (AFP) – Defiant Australia captain Michael Clarke insisted the tourists were "here to compete" after taking England to the wire before losing the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge by just 14 runs.
England, who set Australia a ground record 311 to win, looked to be in total command as Clarke's men collapsed to 231 for nine in the face of some superb swing bowling from spearhead seamer James Anderson.
But a last-wicket partnership of 65 between Brad Haddin (71) and James Pattinson (25 not out) almost produced one more twist in a thrilling Test full of fluctuating fortunes, until Anderson had Haddin caught behind.
Victory saw Ashes-holders England go 1-0 up in this five-match series ahead of Thursday's second Test at Lord's but Clarke said Australia's gutsy display in Nottingham was proof of their determination to regain the urn.
"I think we've probably proved to a few people that we're here to compete -- there's no doubt about it," said Clarke.
"I'm disappointed we couldn't get over the line and I said last (Saturday) night I still thought we could win the Test match.
"So we're disappointed we haven't won this first Test, but I hope we've earned a bit of respect by the way we've played.
"Our team are going to give our all every single time we take the field. We're here to win this series."
Australia came into this match on the back of a 4-0 loss in India and being slammed as one of the worst squads to travel to England for an Ashes series.
Clarke said he hoped Australia's display in the most nerve-jangling Ashes encounter since England's two run-win at Edgbaston in 2005 had altered views.
"We know it's going to be tough and we've just experienced that over five days, but for the people that have written us off or did write us off before a ball was bowled, I think we might have changed a few of their minds.
"It's a pretty tough loss after getting so close."
England may be bidding for a third straight Test series win over Australia -- something they haven't managed since the 1950s -- but this was the first time in 16 years they'd won the first Test of an Ashes campaign after clinging on for draws in the previous two openers.
However, England's 1997 win at Edgbaston was merely the prelude to a 3-1 series loss while the last time England won both the first Test of an Ashes and the urn as well was a 2-1 success in Australia in 1986/87.
"Credit has to go to England. They continued to fight throughout the whole five days and managed to get over the line," said Clarke
"But I think our boys should hold their heads up high."
That comment applied particularly to vice-captain Haddin, who started the year as Australia's second choice wicketkeeper behind Matthew Wade.
"He fought so hard and there is probably no-one in the change-room now more disappointed than Brad," said Clarke. "It's great to see him fight his way back into this Test team."
Clarke, who played in the 2005 Edgbaston clash, added: "All Australians would have loved to have seen a different result but you're not going to get many better Tests than what we have just seen.
"There were ups and downs -- a roller coaster ride.
"There's plenty of times we could have done things better. But we learn from that and make sure we improve in the second Test.
"We feel we were so close to winning this Test but I can guarantee we'll be counting down the next four days to the start of the second one."