A little hangover for Clarke's Oz
Australia lauded its World Cup winning team Monday for a "fairytale" victory on home soil over New Zealand, with praise heaped on retiring one-day captain Michael Clarke after a dream farewell.
Clarke hit 74 as Australia cruised home by seven wickets in a one-sided final in front of a record crowd of 93,013 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
The win, culminating a gruelling tournament, was front page news across the country with The Australian newspaper saying: "Pitch perfect Australia lives the dream to claim fifth World Cup."
"Done it without raising a sweat or anybody's pulse," the broadsheet's cricket writer Peter Lalor said.
"Michael Clarke's side made easy work of New Zealand at the MCG, much as they had with India in the semifinal and Pakistan in the quarter."
Thousands of fans turned out to greet the hungover team in Melbourne's Federation Square on Monday with the biggest cheers reserved for Clarke.
"A little hungover. I think I speak for everybody in that sense," he said when asked how he was feeling.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph focused its coverage on the outgoing Clarke, who announced his retirement from the one-day international format on the eve of the final.
"Pup's fairytale farewell as Aussies crowned world champions," it said on its front page, referring to Clarke by his nickname.
"Lifting the trophy provided Clarke the fairytale ending that seemed so unlikely in November, when his chronic hamstrings again betrayed him and the ambition of captaining a World Cup winning team appeared far-fetched," it added.
The captain, wearing a black armband, dedicated the win to Phillip Hughes, the teammate who died after being hit on the head by a bouncer last year, which the Telegraph said was a fitting tribute.
"Of course no silverware could erase the painful memories of Phillip Hughes' tragic and traumatising death," cricket writer Richard Hinds said.
"Yet, at the twilight of a confronting, even brutal summer, this was rich reward for Australia's experience, endurance and composure."
Australia batsman Hughes died on November 27 last year, two days after being hit on the head by a Sean Abbott bouncer in a first-class match in Sydney.
With Clarke choosing to now focus on Test cricket, The Age in Melbourne said the team was in transition but was in good hands, with Steve Smith expected to be named his successor.
"In Michael Clarke and Steven Smith, two generations of Australian cricket steered their team through the final leg of their long trek to a fifth World Cup," wrote Malcolm Knox, the Fairfax Media cricket writer.
"The outgoing captain and the incoming; the elder who has battled his health all summer to get in, and the younger who has been almost impossible to get out.
"With Clarke's retirement from the one-day game, Australia is already in transition," he added.
"Brad Haddin, and presumably Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson, will not be defending their title in England in 2019, but otherwise the strength of the current team is its youth."
At the Melbourne fan meet and greet, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said "all of Australia is proud of them".
"They're a champion team and they're a team of champions. And they've flown the flag of Australia with great pride," he added.
"They won the trophy, they won the man-of-the-match for the final, they won the man-of-the-tournament."
Left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc was named player-of-the-tournament for a haul of 22 wickets at a meagre average of just over 10 apiece, while fellow quick James Faulkner was man-of-the-match.