Mitchell Johnson is unrepentant about Australia’s hard-nosed Ashes tactics, and has spoken up for his captain Michael Clarke over his behaviour in the first Test. The Australia captain must pay a near-£2,000 International Cricket Council fine for telling England tailender James Anderson to “get ready to have your ****ing arm broken” at the Gabba.
Johnson was the match-winner for the hosts, as England were trounced by 381 runs in the controversial series opener – a match overshadowed, to an extent, by the angry on-pitch confrontations between Anderson and Clarke.
The tourists were also especially unimpressed by Australia opener David Warner’s public remarks about Jonathan Trott’s “poor” and “weak” batsmanship in Brisbane. Trott was twice dismissed cheaply by Johnson, and has since flown home with a stress-related illness.
After taking nine wickets in the match, however, Johnson is determined to stick with Australia’s recipe for success.
“I think it’s worked for us. I definitely think they’re rattled by it,” he said. “They don’t like it at all. Obviously their coach has come out and wanted a truce from what I’ve heard. That’s not going to change from our end.”
Johnson does not think the level of “sledging” was extreme in the first Test, and believes Clarke was entirely in order to engage with Anderson as he did.
“I thought it was really good what Michael did, as a captain,” he said. “That’s what you want your captain to do – stand up for the players – and that’s what he did.
“It just happened to be that the stump mic was up at that time. It’s nothing unusual, but I was really happy with how he stood up for the team.”
England fast bowler Stuart Broad has made it clear the tourists are untroubled by Clarke’s comments, but they are still smarting about Warner’s public criticism of Trott.
England coach Andy Flower has been at pains to rule out any direct cause and effect between those remarks and Trott’s subsequent departure from the tour .
Broad, however, has insisted that “mistakes have been made” off the field in this Ashes series.
“I think the on-field stuff has been fine,” he said. “You’re playing in an Ashes Test match – you expect it to be tough. I grew up hearing all sorts of stories about ‘sledging’, and on the field I don’t think a line’s been crossed.”
Broad was careful not to mention Warner by name, but there was no doubt about his reference point.
“Off the field, there have been some mistakes made,” he added.
“As an England side, we pride ourselves on how we conduct ourselves when talking about the opposition, because you never know what’s going on in their changing rooms and lives.”