Perth:Fast bowler Stuart Clark, who tasted his first defeat in his 14-Test career when India beat Australia in the third Test in Perth on Saturday, says left-arm pacer Irfan Pathan was the "real difference" between the two teams.
"They bowled very well, they swung the ball better than we did and full credit to them. I think Irfan Pathan was a real handful and probably the real difference in the game," Clark told The Australian newspaper.
Pathan, who was adjudged the Man of the Match for scoring 74 crucial runs and taking five important wickets in the match, laid the foundation of the win with two early scalps in the second innings. He ended up as the most successful bowler with three for 54.
"Our cricket skills let us down more than anything else. We probably just didn't play our best cricket, we dropped a few catches, they probably scored a few too many at the end with Rudra Pratap Singh getting a few and we probably didn't bat well enough," he reasoned.
Clark, who delayed the Indian win as he made a gritty 32 and was involved in a 73-run partnership with Mitchell Johnson for the ninth wicket, conceded that Australia were not focussed.
"It (defeat) goes to show that if we are not on every day, every team in the world is competitive," he said.
The defeat prevented Ricky Ponting's side from breaking Australia's own world record of 16th successive Test wins, losing the 17th match at the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) Ground here.
"It would have been a nice record at the end of this, but losing is losing. It doesn't matter how or where, whether it's a one-dayer, a Twenty20 or a Test, it's not a great feeling, and it drives a lot of us to make sure it doesn't happen (again)," he said.
Clark, a 32-year-old who was a real estate agent before switching to cricket, said: "I'd never played in a losing game. Look, any time you lose anything, whether it be a game of cricket or a game of tiddlywinks it's disappointing, but we sat down, had a beer and we'll try to make sure that next time it doesn't happen. I don't like losing at anything I do. This loss hurts as much as any other loss."
Besides Clark, five others - Michael Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Phil Jaques, Mitchell Johnson and debutant Chris Rogers - tasted their first Test defeat.