Johnson revival was Clarke s trump card
Mitchell Johnson celebrates with a replica Ashes urn at the SCG on Sunday night. Pic: Getty Images

"I hate to say I told you so but I told you so."

As Michael Clarke revelled in his newfound status as a member of an exclusive club with Warwick Armstrong and Ricky Ponting, he could not resist a barb or two at those who may have written off his prime Ashes weapon.

Rogers proves he's a fighter

Mitchell Johnson claimed 37 wickets in the past seven weeks to destroy England and rewrite his own history after a past in which he was mocked by the Barmy Army and considered giving the game away.

Bowling with raw aggression, Johnson proved the critical difference between the unsure but improving Australian team that lost three Tests in England last winter and the untouchable outfit that won all five this summer.

The 18-ball spell that brought him 5-12 in the second Test at Adelaide Oval was the high water mark, but Johnson barely stinted from the start of the series as he claimed 9-103, 8-113, 6-140, 8-88 and 6-73 in the five Tests.

It was enough to earn him the Compton-Miller Medal as the best player in the series.

"Man of the series, who would have thought except me and probably Mitch? He's been an amazing bowler for a long time," Clarke said.

"He's bowled with a lot of aggression.

"To be able to bowl at that pace is one thing but to be able to do it for five Test matches and every single innings and back it up is an amazing achievement."

Saying Johnson had produced several spells this series that put him in the company of superstars Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, Clarke lauded Johnson as a far more robust individual than the frail figure whose career appeared in jeopardy after becoming nearly unbowlable in England in 2009.

"He's copped a lot of criticism through his career, he's been dropped, but no one in the world can doubt Mitchell Johnson's character ever again," Clarke said.

"He is as tough a cricketer as I've played with.

"To come back from the criticism he has copped and to be dropped as an older player and come back with the attitude and hunger inside himself to say 'No, I'm not giving up, I'm going to come back' and perform the way he did is a credit to him.

"Mitch has bowled a couple of spells through this series that are without doubt as good a spells as I've ever seen in my career.

"I've been lucky enough to play with Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, but Mitch's spells certainly match the greats I've seen, if not better."

Johnson landed the first blow when he trapped Alastair Cook early to underline the futility of England's task.

Chris Rogers had produced his third Ashes century earlier in the day as Australia pushed hard to the total of 276 that left their hapless opponents needing 448 to win or praying for two days of rain.

Cook revealed later that his team's rapid capitulation was the product of "being under the cosh for four-and-a-half Tests" but players on both teams were astounded at the rapidity of the England surrender.

Ryan Harris finished with the plum figures of 5-25 for his first five-wicket haul of the summer, but the individual spoils could have been shared in many ways as he and his cohort worked over the batsmen.

Michael Carberry provided some resistance with 43, however he was part of an avalanche of wickets after lunch in which four batsmen fell within 11 deliveries as Johnson and Nathan Lyon sprung shut their trap.

Then Harris wrapped it up in a couple of gleeful overs that ignited scenes of exultation amongst the team and in the packed SCG.

The West Australian

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