England cruised to a seven-wicket in a rain-affected fifth and final one-day international, triumphing in convincing style under the Old Trafford floodlights as they made it 10 straight victories in this format.
But for Australia this was their heaviest series defeat in the 40-year history of one-day internationals.
Only George Bailey, who gave Australia a glimmer of hope with a valuable 46 not out on Tuesday, among the tourists could look back on this series with much pride and Clarke said: “I certainly didn’t expect to lose 4-0 that’s for sure.
“We need to play better cricket. We need to sit down as a team and have a look at our performances over the last 1 2 months and areas we need to get better,” he added.
“It certainly wasn’t preparation. I thought our training was outstanding and we played some really good cricket in the couple of warm-up games but we have no excuses,” Clarke insisted.
“I think a lot of credit needs to go to England as well. They’ve outplayed us in all four matches, they’ve been very consistent, their bowlers have bowled with good patience and discipline and their batters have made runs.
“We haven’t done both. We didn’t have anybody make a big score as a batter, we lost a lot of early wickets throughout the series and we didn’t execute our skills as well as you need to.”
However, Australia have made it clear they are now looking to use one-dayers as a means of finding out whether players are up to the demands of international cricket rather than pitching them into high-profile Test series such as next year’s campaign in England, where they will try to regain the Ashes.
“It’s been good to have a look at guys, no doubt,” Clarke said.