THE ASHES: Old enemies mates again


They had threatened to break arms. In the end they laid down their arms.

After an Ashes summer not short on spite, the Australian and England teams came together for three hours in the home dressing room at the SCG - and even Michael Clarke and James Anderson smoked the peace pipe.

The pair had clashed most prominently in Brisbane, where Clarke was fined for warning Anderson to "get ready for a broken f---ing arm" as the England tailender readied himself to face a frightening Mitchell Johnson.

They had history too, with Clarke saying in his diary of the Ashes in England last year that Anderson was the only England player who didn't speak to him and the seam bowler later labelling the Australian captain "paranoid".

The animosity stemmed from an incident in the victorious dressing room in Adelaide in 2006-07 in which Anderson - as he claimed in his own book - hit Clarke with a batsman's pad after being egged on by the Australian's teammate Damien Martyn.

However, there was no such tension in the Australian room at the SCG on Sunday night, as the two teams came together after a series dominated emphatically by the hosts.

Former Test batsman Dean Jones was present and was taken aback by the convivial atmosphere after Alastair Cook, England's captain, led his men in.

"They all paired off. [Michael] Carberry went off with [Chris] Rogers and they were in their own little corner of the showers talking about their game, Steve Smith and [Joe] Root, the young guys, were talking. And Anderson was speaking to 'Pup' - they were having a yarn, it was nice," Jones said.

"[Andy] Flower was speaking to 'Boof' [Darren Lehmann]. All these so-called things that we thought were a problem - they were there for three hours. They didn't leave until 10pm.

"It was old school. I was so stoked to see everyone getting on. It was interesting - guys were giving advice on each other's games. Not giving away secrets but saying, 'Oh, we thought we were going to get you out like this' and, 'You played this really well but you need to work on this more'.

"They were helping each other. I just couldn't believe the honesty, the way the guys were talking about each other's games."

Australian all-rounder Shane Watson said the England players had been "really complimentary" in the hours they spent together after the match.

"They were gracious in defeat," he said.

"They know they were outplayed. In the end it was nice, now the Ashes series for a couple of years have finished, we can have more of a normal conversation - apart from it just being on the field, which normally isn't that normal."

The Australians were led by spinner Nathan Lyon through their victory song, Underneath the Southern Cross, three times on Sunday night. The first was on the pitch in front of a crowd of more than 40,000 and millions of TV viewers - a break from the tradition of singing it in private.

"It was pretty emotional," Lyon explained.

"To beat those guys 5-0 was something that we were all pretty proud of and I was speaking to Brad Haddin ... and we thought it would be a good idea.

"It hasn't been done before. There was a lot of emotion running high and we thought it was a great time. I'll give you the tip - it wasn't the only time we sung the song."

Coach Darren Lehmann and captain Michael Clarke celebrate the Ashes whitewash. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Coach Darren Lehmann and captain Michael Clarke celebrate the Ashes whitewash. Picture: GETTY IMAGES


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