Michael Clarke and Australia will now want an Ashes whitewash
Victory in an Ashes series is the ultimate for any Australian cricketer, and it always has been, but this win is particularly special. To have been under the pump for so long, to have lost three series against England on the bounce, and to come out and play the way they have done is outstanding. I imagine the celebrations will be even bigger and better .
It was a little bit different back then when I played – the was the only losing series that I played in for Australia, we had won eight on the bounce prior to that campaign, and then we got the urn back in 2006-07. These boys on the other hand have been through a rough trot of late and have been well and truly beaten in the last three series, so for them Tuesday was a huge day.
It's a redemption for quite a few players. There's only one player in the squad – Michael Clarke – who has been part of a winning Ashes series. You could tell by the way they played and by the way they reacted at the finish just what it meant to them. The hugs and high-fives went on for quite a while out in the middle and then after the game. It has an emotional time and I know it means a great deal to everyone in the squad.
As Clarke said after the match, this success hasn't just come out of the blue. It has been in the pipeline for a while. For me it all started when took over. Before that the Australian team had become a bit of a rabble. When the boys went to India they got smashed – that was the lowest ebb. Something had to give and unfortunately for he was the one who went.
Lehmann came in and you could see bits and pieces of improvement throughout the Ashes series in England, and in the Oval Test things really started to fall into place. All the efforts that began leading up to the first Test at Trent Bridge, and have continued in the months since, have culminated in the performances we're seeing now.
The boys were heading in the right direction throughout the last Ashes series but coming back and playing so well has given them a huge boost. If there's one player who I'd like to see indelibly linked to this series it would be Mitch.
Although it has not been the performances of one player that has swung the series – as a unit Australia have gone about their planning and execution exceptionally well – the x-factor that Johnson brings, his firepower, and what he has done for the team in terms of confidence has such a positive effect on the entire team. Everyone feeds off the way he goes about his business on the field. He's had a huge galvanising effect.
England on the other hand look to be in a pretty bad place at the moment. Five-nil is a real possibility and at the moment you can see the tourists getting beaten heavily in both Melbourne and Sydney. The way the wickets were prepared in England – tailor-made for spin – told you they were worried about facing Australia in English conditions. I think Australia took that as a positive and in this series you can see why England did it. From this vantage point it looks like all that was doing was covering the issues in the England team. Now they can't hide from them any more. They're going to have to do something different.
And I don't see Australia letting up. Without a doubt Clarke and his team will want to win this 5-0. After all, this series isn't the be-all and end-all. It's not the end of a process. It's part of a much longer journey. Australia go to South Africa after this series and the way Australia are playing at the moment I'd back them to beat South Africa. But to do that they need to carry their momentum from this series into that one. So they need to maintain their standards in the final two Tests.
I'd hate to see them get complacent, or start changing the team around because the series is over and they want to blood a few more players, or rest some of the old boys. That could change the momentum. If you lose the last two Tests you can't just pick the winning mentality straight back up when you head into the next series. You've got to field your best team and take it from there. And I think that'll be Lehmann's thinking too.