Cook can take solace from Clarke's experience

Cook will lead his side out at the SCG desperate to win the fifth test and salvage a little pride.

Alastair Cook and England have been abject Down Under. (Reuters)


SYDNEY -
England skipper Alastair Cook admits to feeling less than 100 percent as he contemplates a possible 5-0 Ashes drubbing but he could look to the experience of his opposite number for an object lesson in how quickly fortunes can turn around.

Michael Clarke has certainly plumbed greater depths in the three years since he first took charge of Australia in a test in the final encounter of the 2010-11 series at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

It has been England's turn to be battered physically and mentally in this series, though, and Cook will lead his side out on Friday desperate to win the fifth test, avoid the dreaded series sweep and salvage a little pride.

"When you lose games of cricket, and you lose they way we have, it's a tough place to be as a captain, certainly when you come on a big tour," Cook told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.

Sydney green top awaits England
Cook calls on seniors to avoid Ashes whitewash
Haddin doesn't think England in great place
England have Panesar worry, no return for Prior
Cook hints at playing three debutants in fifth Ashes Test
Australia likely to be unchanged after Harris, Watson bowl

"It does affect people, make no mistake about it. It hurts for me, but it is what it is."

"All the criticism you get when you lose it's always exaggerated and it's kind of hyperbole when you win because that's the way the media work."

"For me to say I am 100 percent right would be wrong, but I am proud of the way I've handled myself in this series."

"But I do know that I have a hell of a lot to learn as a player, as a captain, and I hope we can put in a good performance in this test match."

Clarke has been showered with plaudits for his captaincy in this series but has not forgotten that earlier this year he was pilloried when Australia were swept 4-0 in India and lost 3-0 in England.

"In the last six months we've gone from the worst Australian side ever to tour India, to one of the best Ashes wins in cricket history," he told reporters at the SCG.

"It's the up and down rollercoaster that you go through as a player, and it's no different as a captain.

"When you're winning you get away with murder. You've just got to continue to try your best. It's a tough game, you've got to ride the highs and the lows to enjoy the success."

While Cook has always been popular in England, Clarke was not universally welcomed as the heir apparent to Ricky Ponting as Australia captain.

He bore the brunt of frustration at Australia's poor form in the corresponding Sydney test in the 2010-11 Ashes series, which England won 3-1, and was booed by a section of the crowd when he came out to bat as the stand-in captain.

Clarke clearly did not hear the catcalls that day, although he did say it was an unpleasant experience when he was met with similar scenes at a one-day international in Brisbane in 2011.

"I never remember being booed at my home ground but I got booed at the Gabba and I remember that fondly," he chuckled.

"It sums up the game we play. There's tough times and you need to find a way to get through that.

"Then there's the other side when you perform well and the team does well and the same people that boo you stand and applaud. That's obviously a very special feeling."

Cook has experienced more highs than lows in his short time as captain, including a tour win in India and the home Ashes triumph earlier this year, and was trying to keep things in perspective.

"We had a lot of success as an England side and ... this has been my first series loss (as captain)," he said.

"So it's not all doom and gloom. When you lose, you start stripping back everything, start looking at everything that's gone wrong, every little aspect you think you can improve on."

"(But) we have to make sure that we concentrate for now on this test match and get ourselves right for a battle."

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »