The Ashes: Clarke defends embattled Cook after defeat

Johannesburg: Australian captain Michael Clarke defended his embattled English counterpart Alastair Cook after winning the third Test to regain the Ashes at the WACA Ground on Tuesday, according to reports.

According to Sport24, Clarke, beaten 3-0 in England just months ago, said he had plenty of empathy for Cook, who faced questions in the post-match press conference about both his leadership and his form with the bat.

Both Clarke and Cook reached their 100-Test milestone in the third Test but it was a forgettable experience for the English skipper, who scored the first golden duck of his career and then lost an Ashes series as captain for the first time, the report said.

Clarke said he had great respect for Cook, who suffered his first series loss as skipper, and for his English team, the report added.

He said criticism of the England captain, particularly in the English media, was wide of the mark, the report mentioned.

Cook took over from Andrew Strauss in 2012 and has lost just four of his 19 Tests in charge, three of those in this series, the report further said.

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