Sydney: Twelve hours before conceding the Ashes during the Boxing Day Test, Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke and teammate Phillip Hughes were spotted drinking in a Melbourne restaurant bar.
Clarke and Hughes hit the World Restaurant Bar on the third night of the Test, where they enjoyed a meal and a few drinks before they posed for photos with fans, including members of the Barmy Army, reported The Daily Telegraph.
The following morning Australia were handed a crushing innings and 57 runs defeat by arch-rivals England as they failed to retain the urn on home soil after 24 years.
English-born Melbourne resident Emily Goodyear happened to be in the bar at the same time and claimed she 'chatted up' with Clarke and Hughes and was told by them 'it does not matter that we are out, we have lost the match anyway'. The woman also offered media outlets a photo of her with the cricketers, requesting a cash payment, the report said.
Clarke and Hughes have admitted their presence in the restaurant but denied reports that they partied for long.
'There's no doubt Phillip and I went to a restaurant bar, we had dinner there, I had two drinks and did not have a late night at all,' Clarke said.
'I left the restaurant and went to the casino to catch up with (former Test player) Michael Slater to talk about batting because I was not scoring as many runs as I would have liked.
'We posed for a lot of photos with a lot of people, we were polite to a lot of people, and there were even a few of the Barmy Army there.
'I have absolutely no idea what time I got home, but I guarantee you it was not late,' stressed Clarke.
Hughes said he had a couple of beers before returning to the team hotel with Clarke.
Earlier, Cricket Australia (CA) boss James Sutherland lashed out at Clarke and Hughes for attending a pre-match breakfast on Boxing Day.
But CA supported the duo on the bar incident.
'It is unrealistic to expect people to spend 220 days or more a year eating hotel room service and living their lives as if they are on a Sunday School picnic,' CA's Peter Young said.