Ashes 2013-14: Michael Clarke compares victory to 5-0 whitewash

The Aussies have reclaimed the urn after going 3-0 up in the series

Michael Clarke is hailing Australia's Ashes victory as a special achievement to compare with their whitewash of England in 2006/07.

Australia have defied general expectations of a closely-fought contest this winter by hammering England three times to regain the urn before Christmas.

After their latest win - by the smallest margin yet, of 'only' 150 runs at the WACA - Clarke was careful to pay due respect not just to Ricky Ponting's 5-0 class of 2006/07 but also the opponents he and his team-mates had again thoroughly outplayed.

Clarke, a young middle-order batsman seven winters ago, marked his - and his opposite number Alastair Cook's - 100th Test by leading his team to a famous victory and unassailable 3-0 lead, with two to play.

Echoing the thoughts already expressed by his wicketkeeping colleague at the safe re-deliverance of the urn, he said: "Today, as Brad Haddin said, we brought it home.

"To get the Ashes back is so special, because of the work these guys have put in."

Asked if this is therefore the proudest moment of his outstanding career, he said: "It's as big, there's no doubt about it.

"I certainly don't want to disrespect 2006/07 - that was a very special series at a very different time in my career.

"I was a lot younger ... a little bit older, a little bit greyer, this is certainly as special."

It is too, of course, for a generation of Australians who have previously had to get used to losing to England.

"I don't think you'll find one bloke in that dressing room who won't say that this is the pinnacle - playing Test cricket against England and winning the Ashes," Clarke added.

"That's always been the pinnacle for Australian cricketers."

Clarke spared a thought too for Cook.

The England captain is under unaccustomed scrutiny after failing to consolidate the superiority which saw his team beat Australia 3-0 themselves, on home soil only four months ago.

Back then, it was Clarke who had to come up with all the explanations in defeat.

"I've read a bit of the stuff in the media back in the UK, and I know what Alastair feels like at the moment.

"It's not that long ago I sat in the same position.

"I think they're a very strong team, and the Australian players deserve a lot of credit for the way we've performed in this series.

"Alastair Cook is a fantastic leader. To play 100 Test matches, and have the record he has, I think he deserves a lot of recognition."

Clarke knows from personal experience that success at the highest level is hard-earned.

"Test cricket is extremely tough, and I know what it feels like to sit on the other side and not get the result you want," he said.

"But that doesn't mean you haven't got the best players there; it doesn't mean you haven't got the best captain there.

"I believe Alastair Cook is a wonderful player and a very good captain - and I certainly don't believe he deserves the criticism I've read in the last few days. Nor do the England team.

"They outplayed us (a few) months ago, in the UK."

Darren Lehmann replaced the sacked Mickey Arthur as Australia coach barely three weeks before the start of last summer's Ashes.

He was unable to work the oracle then, but is being praised to the rafters now for the positive influence he has had.

His winning brand of man-management reportedly veers from the avuncular to the disciplinarian, and he was happy to see how much the success clearly meant to his team.

"It was very emotional for a lot of players," said Lehmann.

"Obviously it's been a tough time over the past few series against England - they're a quality side - so to see the guys with a few tears in their eyes and faces was great.

"It shows the emotion of winning an important series. They should enjoy that."

Clarke confirms they will, but not for too long - because he expects England to be determined opponents in the final two Tests over Christmas and new year.

"I think England will play exceptionally hard in Melbourne, like they have in these first three Test matches, and I believe we have to be at our best to beat them," said the captain.

"I can guarantee you there won't be any complacency (from us).

"We will be 100 percent ready to go and do what we've done in the first three Test matches, in preparation to win that one."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project