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Australia on the way back to the top, says Clarke

sports Updated: Feb 10, 2012 12:00 IST
india vs australia test series

The-Australian-team-pose-with-the-Border-Gavaskar-Trophy-after-winning-the-series-4-0-against-India-in-Adelaide---REUTERS-Brandon-Malone

Australia captain Michael Clarke, while delighting in the 4-0 whitewash of India, re-emphasised on Saturday that the triumph was just a staging post to the goal of being the best test team in the world.

Clarke, who took over as captain in March, was named Man of the Series for his unbeaten 329 in the second test in Sydney and double century in the 398-run victory at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

It completed a remarkable turnaround for Clarke and his team from the start of last year when, as stand-in skipper, he presided over the last rites of Australia's first Ashes series defeat on home soil in 26 years.

The Ashes debacle saw Australia drop to fifth in the world test rankings and Clarke's stated mission is to return to the top.

"We're currently ranked fourth in the world," he told a news conference.

"We've got a hell of a lot of work to do to get back to where I see this team going and would love to see this team going.

"But we've played some fantastic cricket. We've shown a lot of people around the world that we're on the way up, which is a really positive sign.

"I think there's still a lot of improvement needed in all of our games, individually and as a team, but we're getting there. We're getting better every day and that's the most pleasing thing."

Clarke consistently deflected questions about how an Indian side containing so many fine batsmen had performed so badly, preferring to praise his bowling unit, which took 20 wickets in all four tests.

"I don't want to take any credit away from our bowlers. I think they should be very
proud of what they've achieved," he said.

"To be able to get so many great players out on a couple of wickets that were quite hard for batting and then a couple of wickets that were very good for batting, they deserve a lot of credit for that."

On a personal level, Clarke has had a superb year with the bat, scoring four centuries in nine tests and averaging 125.20 in the India series.

"It was a big series for me, mainly because I didn't perform last summer," he 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.

"It helps that I've got some very good players around me, it's made my job a lot easier, and I've just tried to manage them the best I possibly could and fortunately we've got some rewards for that."

Clarke said there was an element of relief to be fielding questions as the winning captain.

"We went through the same feeling India's going through 12 months ago," he said.

"We lost the Ashes and it's really nice be on the other side today."