It might come as a shock to those who know me, but even I reckon that some of the Australian sledging of England during the first Ashes Test in Brisbane went over the top.
By and large, I am a subscriber to the belief that what happens on the field should stay on the field. Unfortunately, when you have these stump microphones, the whole of the world gets to know all about it. We were privy in our lounge rooms to some good old fashioned swearing and sledging.
Australia went in pretty pumped up. A lot of players had a lot to say prior to the match, but they were able to go out there and back it up with their performances.
I have no problem with what Clarke said to James Anderson, other than that he was really doing the fast bowler’s job.
If someone is going to be threatened with a broken arm, it’s usually up to the fast bowler to do it. I don’t think many Test captains would have said things like that over the years.
There is obviously history between England and Clarke. That was exacerbated by what happened to Clarke in the first innings. He would have been embarrassed about his performance in the first innings, and he no doubt copped his share of abuse from the English players.
He might have gone a fraction overboard, but that was no doubt as a result of the scars from previous Ashes losses and the first innings. He has given Anderson a gobful and now he must face him in the second Test. Broad was exhausted by the time Clarke batted in the second innings, so his test will come again.
Australia could have been more humble in victory. I would also keep David Warner away from the microphone and let his bat do the talking. You don’t say what he said about Jonathan Trott to the media. It’s not right to do that to a fellow competitor.
Australia’s performance reminded me of England in 2005, when it defeated Australia with the four-pronged pace attack of Flintoff, Jones, Harmison and Hoggard. By going in with an aggressive game plan they managed to defeat one of the greatest Australian sides of all time.
Like England in 2005, we had to do something a little bit different. We beat them with aggressive fast bowling and intelligent batting from Haddin, Warner and Clarke.
A big difference is that Johnson is no longer our No. 1 fast bowler. The pressure is off him. Clarke can call him in like a fighter pilot to fire his missiles and then withdraw. The pressure is off and he is thriving on that.
England is in disarray. Trott averaged 89 at No. 3 last time he was here, but he looks gone. He doesn’t know where his stumps are, and he doesn’t know when to pull or hook. When he does, he hits the ball in the air because his bat starts low and ends high.
A similar thing has happened with the bowling. They have been able to get away with playing only four bowlers for a long time because Graeme Swann has been able to hold up an end.
The best thing about Warner’s innings was that he used his feet to hit Swann. Previously it was just Clarke who did that. Swann’s figures of 2-215 suggests that might no longer be the case, which puts a lot more pressure on their bowlers.
Of the quicks, Anderson’s outswinger was not working and Tremlett is bowling two yards slower than at his best. Just at the moment, in the fast bowling stakes, it’s three Australians v Stuart Broad.
It’s a long way back for England from here.