Australia are a laughing stock, says Michael Clarke
‘We’ve got so much support ... but we’re letting ourselves and our supporters down at the moment’
With England 2-0 up after as many Tests for the first time in decades against Australia, Cook became the first England captain for a long time to be asked whether an Ashes whitewash is a possibility. “It’s certainly too early for that,” he said. “You only have to look at our dressing room to see how hard we’ve had to work for these wins.”
But he did not entirely dismiss the possibility. “It’s a winning habit, isn’t it? We’ve won all four Test matches this summer [after the 2-0 victory over New Zealand] and that’s a good place to be. But we won’t be taking anything for granted or taking our foot off the gas. We won’t be looking past the first hour at Old Trafford – that’s how Andy Flower operates.”
Cook admitted that while Joe Root’s Test-best 180, which earned him the man of the match award ahead of Ian Bell and Graeme Swann, had not come as any great surprise, the two wickets he took in Australia’s second innings were an unexpected bonus. “Seven overs, two for nine was a little bit of a surprise, to be honest. He keeps moaning when I take him off but he’s only 22, so he can just bowl when he’s told.”Graeme Swann’s late dismissal of James Pattinson - and the decision of Marais Erasmus to give him out, later vindicated by replays although neither team had any reviews available - saved MCC the nightmare scenario of the game dribbling into a fifth day with a tiny amount of play remaining. That would have forced them to open up the ground, having sold all 28,000 tickets for the fifth day’s play for the first time, at a cost of around £500,000 – while still having to refund all ticket holders in full if there was less than 10 overs’ play.
As it is, ticket holders for Monday’s play will receive a full refund- unlike in the third Test at Old Trafford, where Lancashire have sold tickets for the fifth day at a discounted rate but are only offering tickets for alternative matches if the match is completed inside four.