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Clarke's team are the headline act after Ashes victory as further big Tests loom on the horizon

The unbroken success of Australia in the latest Ashes contest has been writ large.

Australia celebrate after completing an Ashes whitewash in Sydney
Australia celebrate after completing an Ashes whitewash in Sydney

This was done most legibly on the front pages of the country's newspapers, the bold black letters which headlined the triumph made even clearer against the backdrop of a series whitewash. The victory in the fifth Test in Sydney brought to a close the most complete Ashes success in almost 137 years of rivalry with England's cricketers - a feat which has been laid out in black and white.

Australia's Daily Telegraph led from the front with a banner headline which read simply: "Legends", while the words "How sweet it is" were splashed across the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian went with "'Unchangeables' begin new era with whitewash".

The scale of the rivalry has invited predictable hype - it is, after all, only the third such Ashes sweep - although that also came with some small print. There is a recognition among individuals around the team that the success of Australia this winter cannot be compared to that of the last lot to secure a whitewash: Ricky Ponting's star-studded 2006/07 outfit. That side comprised heavyweights of the game such as Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist, while Michael Clarke's team would perhaps struggle to get on the undercard. Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddinare rejuvenated veterans and share their victory with honest triers like Peter Siddle and Chris Rogers.

"This five-test whitewash was special because nothing remotely similar was expected of this lot," Peter Lalor wrote on the front page of The Australian. "In 2006-07 a team of champions did as champions do, while in 2013-14 a group of good cricketers touched greatness."

They did so and with the swiftness of a pace-bowler, since the speedy deliveries of Johnson, Ryan Harris and Siddle were cardinal to getting one over on England. The hosts did not change their team over the five Tests and were able to achieve what not even the teams of 1920/21 and 2006/07 teams could - take all 100 England wickets for the first time.

"The spine will tingle even as the memory fades," Malcolm Knox wrote in The Herald of a series which he stated would be long remembered. "There has been one common refrain: that shiver of excitement when Australia's fast bowlers get going. Misty-eyed veterans talk of Lillee and Thomson, or Lindwall and Miller. Since the original whitewash, in 1920-21, the summer of Jack Gregory and Ted McDonald, the dangerous thrill of very fast bowling has been the animating spirit of Australian cricket."

It has also moved Australia up two places and into third in the Test world rankings. It had always been Clarke's stated ambition to lead his side back to the summit of the game and they have started that journey at a brisk pace.

It resumes at the end of this month when Australia head to South Africa to take on the world No.1 team in a three Test series. "There is no easy cricket," said Clarke as the Australia captain eschewed the celebrations of a 281-run victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground. "It's hard in your backyard and it seems to be harder away from home. We have a lot to do.

"I believe we have the team to get success no matter where we play as long as we continue to play the way we're playing and continue to work as hard as we've been working. We're not going to win in South Africa and suddenly think we're the best team in the world. It's about consistency home and away over a long period of time."

Darren Lehmann, who has been integral to the transformation of the team since he took over from Micky Arthur after a 4-0 defeat in India, has already identified one area which will require improvement. Australia needed wicketkeeper Haddin, batting at number seven, to ride to the rescue after the top order failed in the first innings of all five Tests.

"We have to certainly improve our first innings batting," said Lehmann. "If you want to be the side we want to be, we have to win away from home. Simple as that. We need to improve and raise the bar."

First Australia's cricketers might consider drinking themselves under it, with the team to today attend a public celebration in the shadows of the Sydney Opera House. They have been on song for five Tests, after all.

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