Adelaide: Australia are on their way back to the top after hammering India 4-0, skipper Michael Clarke proclaimed, just 12 months after their devastating Ashes series loss to England.
The resurgent Australians thumped India by 298 runs early on the fifth day of the fourth Test in Adelaide on Saturday to complete a series of domination over the demoralised tourists. Clarke, who was named man-of-the-series as the first captain to hit a triple century and a double century in the same series, cautioned plenty of hard work lay ahead.
"Right now we're not the number one Test team in the world, so it's about us trying to become better every single match," said Clarke, whose side remains fourth in the Test rankings, a fraction behind the team they just demolished. England, whose defeat of Australia a year ago prompted soul-searching Down Under, are top of the rankings, followed by South Africa.
"We're currently ranked fourth in the world. We've got a hell of a lot of work to do to get back to where I see this team going," said Clarke. "But we've shown a lot of people around the world that we're on the way up, which is a really positive sign."
Clarke, who replaced Ricky Ponting last year, said the Ashes debacle - when England won 3-1 in Australia - was the catalyst for the resurgence in his team, which next tours the West Indies in March-April.
"I think it has played a part, it certainly has for me personally," he said."We said and knew we had to do a lot of work to improve our games, both personally and as a team."
"It's obviously a very special feeling to beat India 4-0, knowing that last summer I couldn't buy a run. It's a great feeling."
While Clarke is looking ahead with confidence, India are going through a painful period of imminent retirements of their ageing batting stars, who were nullified in the series by well-planned and executed Australian bowling.
"We went through the same feeling India's going through 12 months ago, we lost the Ashes and it's really nice be on the other side today," he said.
It was a milestone series for Clarke, 30, who improved his Test record to seven wins in 12 Tests and was the series topscorer with 626 runs at 125.20, with an unbeaten 329 in Sydney and 210 in the first innings at Adelaide.
"It was a big series for me, mainly because I didn't perform last summer," Clarke said. "I've said since taking over the captaincy that I wanted to lead from the front on the field by scoring runs and it's very pleasing to have been able to achieve that."
"I think I've learned a lot along the way in these four Test matches and I'll continue to learn."
Ponting also had an outstanding series with two hundreds and three half-centuries for 544 runs at 108.80 to dispel doubts about his place in the team.
"I really like the fact that we have a good mix of youth and experience. Ricky's been playing very well, as has Michael Hussey," Clarke said. "It is very important that the senior players do stand up, are performing well and leading from the front."