Michael Clarke says England deserves to retain the Ashes but believes the Australian team is heading in the right direction with great performances from many of the squad throughout the series.

Michael Clarke insists Australia's defiant effort in the drawn fifth Test against England proves they are ready to mount a strong challenge to regain the Ashes.

Clarke's team were beaten 3-0 in the five-Test series, failing to win a single Test in an Ashes series for the first time since their 3-0 loss in England in 1977.

They have also gone nine Tests without a victory following a 4-0 loss in India earlier this year.

But, despite that miserable sequence, Australia captain Clarke sees signs his much-maligned side are on the up.

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