Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 6th 2014 Contents A50
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, January 6, 2014
SYDNEY---Mitchell Johnson, the Player
of the Series, has joined the ranks of Aus-
tralia s greatest bowlers by terrifying Eng-
land s batsmen in a way not seen for many
a year, his captain Michael Clarke has said.
Summing up Johnson s series, in which
he claimed 37 wickets at 13.97 while also
clattering handy runs, Clarke declared the
left-armer s displays as good as any by
the likes of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne,
Jason Gillespie or Brett Lee, all former
team-mates of the captain.
Not even required for the earlier five-Test
bout in England, Johnson put his mark on
the series as early as day two in Brisbane
when he was the catalyst for the collapse
of the visitors first innings. He continued
to intervene at pivotal times throughout,
creating a sense of anticipation every time
he took the ball arguably unseen in Australia
since Warne s most prolific days. Clarke
paid warm tribute.
"Man of the Series, who would have
thought, except me and probably Mitch?"
Clarke said. "He s been an amazing bowler
for a long time. He s bowled with a lot of
aggression. To be able to bowl at that pace
is one thing; to be able to do every single
innings and back it up is an amazing
"Mitch has bowled a couple of spells
through this series that are without doubt
as good a spell as I ve ever seen in my career.
I ve been lucky enough to play with Glenn
McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee, Shane
Warne...Mitch s spells certainly match the
greats I ve seen, if not better.
"He s copped a lot of criticism through
his career---he s been dropped---and no-one
in the world can doubt Mitchell Johnson s
character ever again. He s as tough a cricketer
as I ve played with. To have the attitude
and hunger to say no I m not giving up,
I m going to come back is a credit to him."
Johnson s first spell of the series at the
Gabba had been nervous, spraying numerous
wides before he was fortified by the chance
to bowl at Jonathan Trott, who he had trou-
bled in ODIs in England earlier in the year.
The wicket of Trott, who was to go home
due to a stress-related illness after Brisbane,
settled Johnson into a rhythm he did not
lose all summer, often slinging down deliv-
eries comfortably faster than 150kph.
His treatment of England s tail was ruth-
less, another trend started that day in Bris-
"For me, I was quite nervous at the start
for good reason, I guess, after what s hap-
pened in the past," Johnson said. "But they
were good nerves and once I got past that
and got into my rhythm and stuck to the
plans and having the support of Michael
and knowing I was going to bowl in short
spells, I could be aggressive and go hard at
their batters and it really did set the tone,
that first Test match.
"That just stuck with us, especially seeing
their tail and they way they were jumping
around, they did look quite nervous with
that bouncy fast Gabba wicket. Like Michael
said, that was something we spoke about
at Allan Border field. That definitely set the
tone throughout this whole series."
Johnson s enjoyment of this summer has
been enhanced by the development of a
close relationship among all the bowlers,
their group embracing tightly when the final
wicket fell. "It was just a great feeling for
the bowling unit to get through five Test
matches, " Johnson said. "We ve had the
experience, guys like Peter Siddle have played
50 Test matches now and Ryan Harris has
got through five Test matches bowling on
one leg apparently. He s done exceptionally
well, and Nathan Lyon, what he did today
and in the last Test match, so I think as a
bowling unit we really set the tone in that
first Test and stuck with it.
"We just felt really good out there
throughout this whole Test series. The sup-
port staff being able to get us through, I m
absolutely exhausted now, it s a huge relief
to get through the Test series but we all feel
confident that we can play back-to-back
cricket, we ve shown that. We can keep the
accuracy up and keep working really well
as a unit. We d like to play a lot more cricket
together I m sure."
SYDNEY---Alastair Cook is angry,
he s frustrated and he wants to stay
on as test captain, desperate to help
turn England s cricketing woes
around after another heavy loss in
the fifth Ashes Test became the last
act in a 5-0 series defeat.
Australia won by 281 runs yester-
day, wrapping up the test with more
than two days to spare at the Sydney
Cricket Ground, as England capit-
ulated to be all out for 166 chasing
It was the sixth time in ten innings
this series that England had failed
to make 200, with the last perform-
ance perhaps the meekest of all.
"There s anger in me and frus-
tration because for whatever reason
we haven t played very well, and the
buck stops with me," said Cook, who
averaged a shade under 25 in the
series, considerably lower than his
career average of 46 from 102 tests.
"I am desperate to try and turn it
around. I feel as if I am the right
man to do it."
The skipper said, albeit tongue in
cheek, that he retained the support
of the English Cricket Board and
would stay until he was told to go.
"I was given the vote of confidence
from the board which usually means
in football terms you have two weeks
and then you re on your bike," he
told a news conference. "If I m not,
and people higher up want a change
because they think that s the best
way, I have to take it on the chin."
Cook hadn t lost a series as Eng-
land captain after replacing Andrew
Strauss, and the loss at Brisbane in
the Ashes series opener was Eng-
land s first Test loss in 2013. But
critics of his captaincy got more
vocal and more severe as the series
went on with heavy losses in Ade-
laide, Perth and Melbourne.
The 5-0 series sweep is rare, and
emulated only two other Australian
triumphs---Warwick Armstrong s
1920-21 team and that of Ricky
Ponting in 2006-07.
But this was probably even more
unexpected, considering England
had arrived with high hopes of
inflicting a fourth consecutive series
defeat on Australia only a few
months after retain the urn 3-0 at
That optimism quickly faded and
England was comprehensively out-
played in all five Tests, rotating 17
players into the test XI. Australia
retained an unchanged starting line-
up throughout the series, also a rar-
"Credit to Australia, I can t even
count how many sessions we won
in the series," Cook said. "That s a
pretty daunting stat to take but a
very realistic statistic."
The problems started in the first
test in Brisbane, where England lost
by 381 runs inside four days.
Jonathan Trott, a 49-test veteran,
left the tour immediately after that
loss due to a stress-related illness.
England, after a detour for a tour
match in the central Australia town
of Alice Springs, was again compre-
hensively outplayed in the second
test in Adelaide by 218 runs. Aus-
tralian paceman Mitchell Johnson
again proved near-unplayable for
the England batsmen as he picked
up his second player-of-the-match
England surrendered the urn in
Perth, where it lost by 150 runs and
Australia regained the Ashes for the
first time since Ricky Ponting s team
triumphed in a 5-0 whitewash in
England improved in Melbourne,
leading after the first innings despite
the shock retirement of spinner
Graeme Swann only days before the
Boxing Day Test begun. But Australia
stormed to victory after rolling
through England for 179 in the sec-
ond innings and then chasing the
231 run target with ease to win by
Cook said many of the answers
to England s woes laid within.
"When you strip everything down,
every single player now has to go
back and have a look at themselves,
have a look at their techniques," he
said. "Have a look at the way they ve
bowled and start rebuilding again."
"And that hunger has to come
from within to do it."
to turn fortunes around
Captain Clarke lauds Ashes bowling heroes
England captain Alastair Cook, right, shakes hands with Australia Mitchell
Johnson after Australia won their Ashes cricket Test match in Sydney,
Australia, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Australia's captain Michael Clarke waves while
walking around the field after winning their Ashes
cricket Test match against England in Sydney
yesterday. AP PHOTO
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