Ashes: Victorious Clarke hails Aussie bowlers

Michael Clarke hailed his Ashes-winning bowling attack as the best in the world after Australia sealed a 5-0 whitewash over England in Sydney.

Australia cricket

Led by Mitchell Johnson, who took 37 wickets, the attack which also includes Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, backed by off-spinner Nathan Lyon, once again blew England away on day three at the SCG, bowling them out for 166 to complete a 281-run win.

"They've done a fantastic job," Clarke said. "We had a brief conversation before the first Test match and I remember saying to those three fast bowlers that in my opinion they are the best attack in the world.

"I think Nathan Lyon complements that and they've shown that [they are the best]. They've earned that mantle."

Clarke had praise for his entire team and the work they put in during and after the recent tour of England, which they lost 3-0.

"I said throughout the England series, the work the guys were putting in behind the scenes they would get their rewards," Clarke said. "It just seemed to take a little longer than we'd have liked.

"This series is an indication of the hard work the guys have put in in the last 12 months. They deserve the reward of winning 5-0."

Johnson was named man of the series after terrorising the England batting line-up.

"That's something I'm going to cherish for the rest of my life," he said. "It's very special.

"We didn't expect to be here 5-0, but after England when I came into the team the guys were happy with how they were performing and looked like they were on track.

"The way we started the series was where it all went well for us."

Coach Darren Lehmann vowed there was more to come from his team.

"The boys have played well, they deserve everything," he said in comments broadcast on Sky Sports 2. "I'm really proud of what they've achieved as a group.

"They're well drilled, I'm really pleased with what they've taken on board. They stuck to their guns, bar maybe a couple of hours in Perth, they were excellent.

"This is hopefully just the start of good things to come."

Meanwhile the players revelled in the experience of a 5-0 win.

Brad Haddin, who ran Johnson close for man of the series with his lower-order runs, said: "The feeling around the group is outstanding. We deserved to finish the way we did today. The cricket we've played throughout the series has been outstanding."

Asked if he was pondering retirement, he said "No, this is too good a feeling."

Harris said: "Five-nil, How about that? It's unbelievable. To clean sweep the series - how good is it?"

Lyon added: "There's a lot of emotion out there. To beat England 5-0, it's been a massive series. It's fantastic. It's going to be one hell of a party."

Steve Smith, who made a century to set up the win in the final Test, enjoyed finishing the series off in front of an SCG ground dressed largely in pink in honour of Jane McGrath Day.

"The sea of pink in the crowd, to end it today is an amazing feeling," he said. "Five-nil - how good's that? I'm shaking at the moment.

"It's so surreal to have finished this series 5-0 - we wouldn't have thought it at the start of the series."

Batsman George Bailey added: "This one seemed to be played in fast forward. Steve Smith's hundred was particularly good. The last month has just been ridiculous. I don't think anyone could have predicted it."

The manner of England's performance on what turned out to be the final day of the series led some to suggest they surrendered too meekly.

Cook told Sky Sports 2: "I don't think they threw in the towel. It's the culmination of being under the pump. We were all determined but you all know that when you get behind the eight ball... If it was a boxing match it probably would have been called off earlier than today.

"We've had our backs against the wall. I'm proud of the way the lads have stuck together as a team. We've tried our hardest but the bottom line is we haven't been good enough."

While Cook accepted his side had not been good enough, he denied the suggestion they had been defeatist and gave credit to the opposition.

"That was the best bowling attack I've faced in my career," he said. "I can only say what goes on behind closed doors, the practice we do with Goochy, the meetings - if you're telling me that's defeatist, I think you're very wrong."

Asked what he as captain had learned from the series, Cook said: "At certain times you've got to take the game more by the scruff of the neck. They were 130 for five a number of times and we couldn't get Brad Haddin out. You've got to give him a lot of credit.

"And probably at certain times [you have to] be stronger in certain decisions on the field."

Cook reiterated his desire to stay in the job.

"If I was a football manager I'd be scared of the old vote of confidence from the board," he said. "But I want to be the man to try to turn this round. Whether I'm given the opportunity is not my decision but I want to try."

Cook insisted his team were a tight unit and backed them to use the experience to improve.

"One thing we can say we've done well is stuck together," he said. "At times like this factions can corner off in the dressing room and there can be a lot of backstabbing but I can safely say that hasn't happened.

"But the bottom line is out in the middle is where it counts.

"If you look back at 2006/7, it made me take a good look at my game, it made us have a real look at ourselves as an England team and a lot of good came from it.

"I have a feeling this will be good for us in the long term.

"A lot of those young players... Stokesy's done a fantastic job for us and he's a real shining light in being able to balance that side. He knows how much hard work [is needed] and how hard Test cricket can be after playing in this.

"Rooty, we know he's going to be a very good player. He's going to have to look at his technique, so that will only bode well in the future.

"Gary Ballance as well I thought looked very composed at the crease.

"But when this happens you look at yourself, you look at your technique. Where can you improve? It happened last time and I think it will happen again this time."

Australia captain Clarke hailed his Ashes-winning bowling attack as the best in the world after sealing a 5-0 series win.

Led by Mitchell Johnson, who took 37 wickets, the attack which also includes Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, backed by off-spinner Nathan Lyon, proved more than a match for England's batsmen.

"They've done a fantastic job," Clarke said. "We had a brief conversation before the first Test match and I remember saying to those three fast bowlers that in my opinion they are the best attack in the world.

"I think Nathan Lyon complements that and they've shown that [they are the best]. They've earned that mantle."

Clarke had praise for his entire team and the work they put in during and after the recent tour of England, which they lost 3-0.

"I said throughout the England series, the work the guys were putting in behind the scenes they would get their rewards," Clarke said. "It just seemed to take a little longer than we'd have liked.

"This series is an indication of the hard work the guys have put in in the last 12 months. They deserve the reward of winning 5-0."

Johnson was named man of the series after terrorising the England batting line-up.

"That's something I'm going to cherish for the rest of my life," he said. "It's very special.

"We didn't expect to be here 5-0, but after England when I came into the team the guys were happy with how they were performing and looked like they were on track.

"The way we started the series was where it all went well for us."

Coach Darren Lehmann vowed there was more to come from his team.

"The boys have played well, they deserve everything," he said in comments broadcast on Sky Sports 2. "I'm really proud of what they've achieved as a group.

"They're well drilled, I'm really pleased with what they've taken on board. They stuck to their guns, bar maybe a couple of hours in Perth, they were excellent.

"This is hopefully just the start of good things to come."

Meanwhile the players revelled in the experience of a 5-0 win.

Brad Haddin, who ran Johnson close for man of the series with his lower-order runs, said: "The feeling around the group is outstanding. We deserved to finish the way we did today. The cricket we've played throughout the series has been outstanding."

Asked if he was pondering retirement, he said "No, this is too good a feeling."

Harris said: "Five-nil, How about that? It's unbelievable. To clean sweep the series - how good is it?"

Lyon added: "There's a lot of emotion out there. To beat England 5-0, it's been a massive series. It's fantastic. It's going to be one hell of a party."

Steve Smith, who made a century to set up the win in the final Test, enjoyed finishing the series off in front of an SCG ground dressed largely in pink in honour of Jane McGrath Day.

"The sea of pink in the crowd, to end it today is an amazing feeling," he said. "Five-nil - how good's that? I'm shaking at the moment.

"It's so surreal to have finished this series 5-0 - we wouldn't have thought it at the start of the series."

Batsman George Bailey added: "This one seemed to be played in fast forward. Steve Smith's hundred was particularly good. The last month has just been ridiculous. I don't think anyone could have predicted it."



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