PERTH:Fast bowler Stuart Clark on Monday said Australia were desperate to show they still the world's best after taunts from tri-series rivals India and Sri Lanka.
Opener Virender Sehwag claimed Australia were "scared" ahead of their loss to India on Sunday, while Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said other teams were finally catching up.
"I keep reading that certain members of their (India's) team say we are scared and things like that and I find that pretty much laughable," said Clark.
"They can think whatever they want and they've made some bold statements.
"India are playing good cricket, but the guys are keen to show everyone that we are still the best team in the world."
Australia are entering a new era following the retirements of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and Damien Martyn in the last 18 months, with Adam Gilchrist also about to hang up his pads.
"They're not dominating world cricket at the moment ... they're playing some good cricket, but on and off," Jayawardene said in Canberra.
"They're being pushed to the limit which is a good thing.
"I think the rest of the world is catching up with them, especially in one-day cricket."
However, Clark said Australia were simply down on form for Sunday's surprise five-wicket defeat.
"On any day, if we are not on our game, any team can beat us and if we don't play cricket to our level then we can get beaten," he said.
Clark, who said he was looking to become more unpredictable with his bowling to nail down a spot in the one-day side, also backed captain Ricky Ponting to emerge from his current form slump.
The usually prolific Ponting has scored just 18 runs at 6.00 in the tri-series and also struggled for form for most of the narrow 2-1 Test series win against India.
However, Clark said Ponting's class would prevail.
"He's probably the best player in the world," he said.
"There was going to be a period where he didn't do as well as he's been doing for so long. Hopefully that changes and you'd be a brave man to back against him."
Australia's next match in the tri-series is against Sri Lanka on Friday.