Tears of joy for Australian heroes in Ashes win

GREG BUCKLE
Last updated 01:54 18/12/2013
Australian cricket team
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SING WHEN YOU'RE WINNING: Nathan Lyon leads the victorious Australian cricket team in singing their team song on the WACA pitch after their victory in the third test to regain the Ashes.

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The hard men of Australian cricket cried tears of joy at the WACA Ground as they regained the Ashes after four years and three series of pain.

Skipper Michael Clarke's side clinched a 150-run win shortly after lunch on day five of the third Test.

Three-nil up with the Melbourne and Sydney Tests to come, Australia have won back the urn they lost in 2009.

Clarke, who played in Australia's five-nil sweep against England in 2006/07, says he's determined to push his men to repeat that result.

The pain of Australia's three consecutive Ashes series defeats including the 2013 winter tour of the UK was forgotten 7.2 overs after lunch.

Jimmy Anderson was the last man out in England's second-innings total of 353 chasing 504 to win, appropriately off a short ball from Mitchell Johnson.

"It was very emotional for a lot of players," Australia's first-year coach Darren Lehmann said.

"It's been a tough time over the past few series against England.

"So to see the guys with a few tears in their eyes and faces was great.

"It shows the emotion of winning an important series. They should enjoy that."

It was particularly emotional for Johnson. Overlooked for the 2013 Ashes series in the UK, the left-arm quick has dominated the home summer with 23 wickets at 15.47.

"For the guys in the dressing room to feel this. I don't think you'll find one bloke in that dressing room who won't say that this is the pinnacle," 100-Test veteran Clarke said.

Man of the match Steve Smith, who scored a vital 111 in Australia's first innings of 385, is one of five Australian batsmen who've hit a hundred in the series.

England have just one century-maker. Kiwi-born second-gamer Ben Stokes fought on bravely to score 120 on Tuesday before becoming one of spinner Nathan Lyon's three victims, while Johnson took 4-78.

Lehmann says the Australians are brutally honest with each other, particularly after England had reached 5-251 on Monday night after some sloppy bowling from the home side.

"The blokes were getting a bit of a tongue-lashing last night with the way we bowled yesterday afternoon to England," Lehmann said.

Lehmann's teaching techniques also involve regular joke-telling sessions.

"Why do I do it? Because they're funny," Lehmann said.

"I like seeing the sweat on the players' faces or the coaching staff when they're telling a joke because it's quite nerve-wracking.

"They're more nervous that players or staff won't laugh than they are playing or coaching the game."

Lehmann said team physio Alex Kountouris had told Tuesday's joke and it bombed so badly he won't be asked back.

He said he couldn't reveal the content of the best joke.

A harsh critic might say the best joke was England, who have only one batsman averaging over 40 in the series and that's the 22-year-old Stokes.

Star bowlers Jimmy Anderson and Graeme Swann have taken seven wickets each and leading paceman Stuart Broad has a bruised foot which could put him in doubt for the Boxing Day Test.

England captain Alastair Cook's 100th Test was one to remember, but not fondly.

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"When you lose the Ashes and when you lose like we've lost, there's always going to be people questioning my place and all that kind of stuff," Cook said.

Cook was matter of fact when asked whether this is his lowest moment in the England cap.

"Yeah it is," he said.

- AAP

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