Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Boyd Rankin was let down by Cook, blasts Warne

The Australian cricket team celebrate after sealing their 5-0 whitewash success over England

Shane Warne has attacked England captain Alistair Cook over his handling of former Ireland pace bowler Boyd Rankin as England slumped to a humiliating 5-0 whitewash after just three days of the final Ashes Test.

Warne, the greatest leg spinner the game has known, said in the aftermath of Australia's 281 runs victory at Sydney: "I'd be really interested to know what the tactics were for Rankin and who came up with them.

"They are asking him to bowl halfway down the track at George Bailey with three men on the hook but, on a pitch where most wickets have been taken by pitching the ball up, it is the wrong plan."

Bailey took his overnight partnership with centurion Chris Rodgers to 109 as Australia piled on the agony at the start of the third day.

Rankin's patience was rewarded when he took his first Test wicket, dismissing Australia No 10 Peter Siddle, caught hooking a short ball, but it was scant consolation for England's Test debutant.

Left with almost eight sessions to reach a world record victory target of 448, England were bowled out inside 32 overs for 166.

There were no excuses offered by anyone in the England camp with captain Alistair Cook vowing to lead the team back from "rock bottom" and coach Andy Flower describing the defeat as the "end of an era".

Rankin, was the last man out, dismissed second ball to a brilliant catch at slip by Australia captain Michael Clarke, but long before his entrance, England had effectively given up.

Cook said: "There is anger in me and frustration, because for whatever reason we haven't played very well – and the buck stops with me.

"When you hit rock bottom, the only way is up. I think today was being under the cosh for four-and-a-half games.

"If I feel my position in the side is not justified for the amount of runs I score, and I don't feel I'm the right man for the job, then I'll resign. But I'm very proud to be England captain... and I'm desperate to help England turn it round.

"I feel I'm the right man for the job.

Flower, who has the backing of ECB chairman David Collier and new managing director Paul Downton, added: "This does feel like the end of an era, of some description. It is a chance for some sort of renewal for the England national cricket team."

Meanwhile, Australia captain Michael Clarke hailed his team's "fantastic achievement" to win back the Ashes 5-0.

Clarke has become the only cricketer to twice figure in 5-0 Ashes victories, having been part of the 2006-07 team as well.

"It's extremely special."(For) the same XI (to play in each Test) is obviously a fantastic achievement and a lot of credit has to go to the support and medical staff."

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