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The Ashes: Michael Clarke says Australia focused on levelling series at Lord's

Michael Clarke with Shane Watson together on Tuesday night

Captain Michael Clarke shrugged off reports of a rift in the team and insisted Australia remained focused purely on conquering England in the second Ashes Test.

Clarke sidestepped questions about his relationship with Shane Watson which has come under scrutiny following revelations in Australia.

Former Australia coach Mickey Arthur is suing Cricket Australia following his dismissal and evidence he presented in court documents has been made public in Australia.

"If we can find a couple of areas of our game to improve we feel we can get a win in this second Test. Hopefully you will see them over the next five days"

Michael Clarke

The most damaging claim from the South African is that Clarke has described Watson as a "cancer" in the team.

But Clarke was in upbeat mood 24 hours before the teams went head-to-head at Lord's, insisting that the narrow margin of defeat in the opening Test had given his squad belief that they can win at the home of cricket.

"I've talked before about my relationship with Shane Watson and so has Shane and I'm not going to go backwards," Clarke said. "For us and the team, it's about looking forward. It's great to have (new coach) Darren Lehmann on board and he's been outstanding in galvanising this team and bringing us together.

"We've shown the media and public over the five days playing in Nottingham and we'd like to continue to show that in this second Test match. Our focus is making sure we're as well prepared as we can be and get out there and enjoy the second Test.

"None of this will be a distraction for me personally and it certainly won't be to the team. I'm focused on making sure I'm scoring runs firstly and we need to make sure we win this match and I'm looking forward to that.

"Our attitude and commitment to training has been first class. Nothing changes for us and we're very focused on what' in front of us. The feeling in the camp is exceptional and the guys are in a really good place and full of confidence.

"We saw that in stages in Nottingham but now we have a job to do and have to continue to play our best cricket."

fought back

Having fought back brilliantly at the end of the fifth day at Trent Bridge, the Australians got within 15 runs of an incredible victory, only to be undone by the bowling of Jimmy Anderson and the review system.

Australian captain Michael Clarke has once again denied that there's a rift between him and Shane Watson.

"Because you get so close it gives you that little bit of inspiration," Clarke added. "If we can find a couple of areas of our game to improve we feel we can get a win in this second Test. Hopefully you will see them over the next five days.

"Every time we walk out on the ground we want to win. We know England will come out better than they did in Nottingham. They know the conditions very well."

Clarke does not yet know the starting XI for Lord's, though there is speculation that Ed Cowan could be dropped with Usman Khaweja coming in to the line-up.

"I haven't got an XI from the selectors and I haven't seen the pitch - I've just walked past and the covers are on," Clarke said.