MOHALI, India - Maybe it's not the lowest point in Australian cricket, but it certainly hasn't been a fun tour of India for Australia captain Michael Clarke.
The skipper has led his side to defeat in the first three matches of the four-Test series and the 31-year-old master batsman is in doubt for Friday's final Test in Delhi with a back problem.
Australia have lost eight of their past 10 Tests in India, including three under Clarke.
"It's always hard when you're losing," Clarke said yesterday when asked if it was the lowest point in Australian cricket.
India chased down a target of 133 to win with six wickets and 15 deliveries to spare.
Australia had resumed yesterday's fifth day of play on 3-75 in their second innings and after collapsing to 8-143, wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (30) and tailenders Mitchell Starc (35) and Xavier Doherty (18 not out) showed plenty of determination to lift the total to 223.
"Our players deserve a lot of credit for the way they tried their best," Clarke said.
"Our fast bowlers (Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc) worked their absolute backsides off and we were very close to hanging on for a draw."
Clarke pointed to Australia's strong performances at home this summer, losing 1-0 in a three-Test series against top-ranked South Africa and beating Sri Lanka 3-0.
"But we're not performing as well as we'd like when we go overseas in conditions. As disappointing as it is that we can't level the series now that we're three-nil down, the players individually and the team have learnt a lot over the first three Test matches," he said.
Clarke urged his batsmen to turn starts into big scores. Australia have produced one of the seven centuries in the series, which was Clarke's 130 in the first Test in Chennai.
Tailender Mitchell Starc made 99 in Australia's first innings in Mohali.
"I'd like to see one of us in the top five or six make a big hundred," Clarke said.
The return of Shane Watson following a one-match ban over the homeworkgate affair should strengthen Australia's batting.