Michael Clarke says he didn’t over step the mark in his sledging of James Anderson in Australia’s first Test win.
Michael Clarke has defended his vicious on-field sledge to England rival James Anderson in a spiteful end to Australia’s first Test victory in Brisbane.
Man-of-the-match Mitchell Johnson holds the key to Australia’s Ashes chances, after the home side took a commanding 1-0 lead, closing out an emphatic 381-run win by bowling England out for 179 late on day four at the Gabba.
However, post-match talk was dominated by the ugly scenes out in the middle where a stump microphone picked up the Australian captain telling Anderson to, “Get ready for a f***ing broken arm” as the fast bowler prepared to face Johnson.
That followed on from the previous night’s press conference, where Australian opener David Warner described England’s players as batting with “scared eyes” and accusing rival Jonathan Trott of being “weak”.
England captain Alastair Cook hit back and said Warner was “disrespectful”, but wouldn’t comment on whether the ICC should intervene.
Clarke told a reporter he “must have great ears” when his sledge to Anderson was repeated, but didn’t deny the comment was made.
The skipper said the banter in the first Test hadn’t overstepped the mark.
“There is always banter on the field, especially between Australia and England, they are two teams who always play hard, tough cricket on the field,” he said.
“I still believe there is a very good mutual respect off the field. I can only talk from the Australian team. I have the utmost respect for their team.”
Clarke also got in Anderson’s face and pointed aggressively, continuing an ongoing verbal stoush which the England spearhead appeared to start on Saturday.
The pair have a long history, with Anderson labelling Clarke as “paranoid” in the build-up.
Cook said he didn’t have a problem with on-field banter but was angered by Warner.
“I think the comment last night by David Warner was pretty disrespectful from any professional cricketer really,” he said.
“On the pitch it’s pretty much a war anyway. Always going to be a few words on the pitch, that’s the way people want to watch cricket being played.”
Spinner Nathan Lyon came into his own on Sunday and Johnson (5-42) capped off his stunning Test return to instigate another England collapse of 4-9 within 21 balls – following a 90-minute rain delay – to bring the Ashes-holders to their knees.
After a tumultuous year on and off the field where they sacked a coach and went nine consecutive Tests without a win, Australia’s performance was a flashback to the glory years.
The series is a long way from over, but only twice before has a side won the first Test in Brisbane and not gone on to claim the Ashes.
After Johnson and the Australians decimated England with 6-9 in the first innings, it was deja vu in the final session on day four.
Second innings centurions David Warner and Michael Clarke were considered, but Johnson was an overwhelming man-of-the-match, in one of Australian cricket’s most important victories.
“Obviously to get a five for in a Test match in an Ashes series is an unbelievable feeling,” Johnson said.
“All the boys racing in and getting into a huddle, it was a great celebration for us.
“It’s been a long time for us winning a Test match.
“It was a great moment, something I won’t forget.”
His 64 and 39 not out with the bat and nine wickets marked one of the best allround performances in Test history.
Much-maligned offspinner Lyon also turned a corner in Brisbane, snaring Alastair Cook and Matt Prior in quick succession on Sunday.
He has now sung the team song for the first time.