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“WE’VE got ‘em back!”
With those words from the lion- hearted Ryan Harris, Australia began celebrating the end of more than four years of subjugation at the hands of England.
That no one really expected them to win The Ashes this summer, let alone be 3-0 ahead after three matches, made it all the more sweet.
As did the fact that for all but one of the team — captain Michael Clarke — the 150-run win in Perth was their first taste of a series triumph over the old enemy.
Little wonder emotions spilled over in the moments after victory.
In the WACA dressing room where Nathan Lyon led them through the team song Under the Southern Cross I Stand.
“It was very emotional for a lot of players,” coach Darren Lehmann said.
“It’s been a tough time over the last few series against England.
“To see a few tears on the players’ faces is great.”
Australia put behind it, probably, its worst year in Test cricket in 25 years to destroy England with aggressive cricket.
It batted and fielded far better than its opponents and shook up Alastair Cook and his men with brutal fast bowling.
There were a few nerves thanks to a brave maiden century from England second-gamer Ben Stokes.
But when Lyon stepped up to claim his crucial wicket after lunch, the tension was released, replaced by the freedom of an impending triumph
When the ninth wicket fell, courtesy of a brilliant catch by veteran Chris Rogers, Clarke and his teammates began to wind up the crowd, gesturing with their arms for spectators to raise the proverbial roof.
The 7201 present answered the call and went berserk when Mitchell Johnson fittingly applied the finishing touches, having James Anderson caught close to the bat by George Bailey.
Talk will immediately turn to the next obvious objective — to repeat the 5-0 rout of 2006-07 — but Clarke said Australia would soak up the success of the past month before looking ahead to Melbourne, Sydney and a possible whitewash.
Clarke, who led Australia to glory in his 100th Test, said: “I’m not looking at it tonight, I can’t guarantee you that.
“I’m going to enjoy 3-0 for as long as I can tonight.
Clarke indicated, however, that the foot would not come off the pedal in their next outing, the Boxing Day Test.
“I can guarantee you there won’t be any complacency,” he said.
“We will turn up in Melbourne 100 per cent ready to go, and doing everything we’ve done to win the first three matches.”
Clarke’s stated goal has been to return Australia to the top of the Test rankings.
They will rise above England to go third if they win the series 4-0 or 5-0.
But Clarke said there was still work to be done.
“We’ve allowed it to slide over a period of time and, fortunately, we’ve turned it around and I think we’re heading back in the right direction,” he said.
“To be the No. 1 team in the world, you’ve got to be consistent home and away.
“In Test cricket at the moment, a lot of the top teams are performing at home and not having as much success as they would like away from home.
“That’s probably the big goal for.”