Michael Clarke and James Anderson exchange words. Photo: Getty Images
Three years of Ashes pain spilled over as Australia taunted England and claimed a drought-breaking first-Test victory at the Gabba, with Michael Clarke unleashing an expletive-laden tirade at Jimmy Anderson in the final overs.
As chief destroyer Mitchell Johnson strained for the last wicket and shadows crept across the ground, the Australian captain got into a fiery spat with the England tailender. The umpires stepped in as the aggro between the fast bowler and Clarke escalated in the third-last over of the match.
Mitchell Johnson celebrates taking the final wicket. Photo: Getty Images
The stump microphone picked up Clarke telling Anderson to ”get ready for a broken f—in’ arm”. And afterwards he wagged his finger at Anderson during the break between overs.
Australia’s 381-run victory was its fifth biggest over England by runs. The crushing result handed the home side a huge psychological edge along with a 1-0 Ashes lead. It was Australia’s first win in an Ashes Test since December, 2010.
Later, England captain Alastair Cook accused David Warner of making disrespectful remarks about opposing batsman Jonathan Trott, when describing his dismissal in the second innings as ”pretty weak”.
Storm clouds gather above the light towers during the fourth day’s play at the Gabba. Photo: Reuters
Johnson, recalled to the Test team after 10 months, was the man of the match after turning in one of the finest all-round performances by an Australian in Ashes history. He claimed nine wickets for the match and contributed important runs in both innings, with 64 and 39 not out. Johnson is just the fourth Australian to make 100 runs and take eight wickets in an Ashes Test.
But runs and wickets did not tell the full story of Johnson’s intimidation, the England batsmen rattled by his raw pace, his brutal short-pitched bowling and his continuing hold over Trott.
The Australians turned up on day four needing eight wickets to win. The charge for victory was held up by a spectacular hailstorm and by Cook, who resisted until hewas undone by the spin and bounce of Nathan Lyon soon after play resumed.
Subsitute fielder Chris Sabburg takes a catch to dismiss Kevin Pietersen. Photo: Getty Images
The unpredictable weather simply delayed the inevitable, with Johnson finishing off the game in four days with another nasty short ball that Anderson fended straight up in the air for a return catch.
The Australians’ celebration released months of tension built up through heavy series defeats in India and England and off-field upheavals including the sacking of Mickey Arthur.
”It’s a fantastic start,” said Clarke, whose team recovered from a first-innings batting collapse through Johnson and Brad Haddin, then rocked England with the ball. ”There were some fantastic individual performances. Obviously no better than Mitchell Johnson, with bat and ball.
”I really hope this is the start of what is ahead for the rest of the summer. It’s only one Test match. We know there is still a lot of work to do in regards to preparing for the second Test. I’m sure that England will come back bigger and stronger. But I couldn’t be any happier for the way the guys stood up.
”We should celebrate together tonight, but we’ve got some time at home to make sure we’re as well prepared as we need to be for that second Test match.”
Although it’s only the first Test of a long series the task ahead of Cook’s side, which holds the urn, is illustrated by the fact that only twice in the past 80 years has the team that lost the first Test at the Gabba fought back to claim the Ashes.
”It’s been a tough couple of days for us,” said Cook, lamenting his side’s collapse in the first innings, which gave Australia a first-innings lead of 169.
”Australia put us under pressure. Johnson bowled well, that’s something we need to work on ahead of Adelaide. We’ve played him well in the past and that’s something we’ll have to look to do in the next game.”