Melbourne: Michael Clarke emphasised that Australia will approach the Boxing Day Test with the same ruthlessness even though his team have already taken an unassailable lead in the five-match series and retained the Ashes.
The Australia captain is aware that the feel-good factor may disappear quickly with a reversal or two. “I aim to win this Test, probably because I’ve seen both sides of this game. I know how quickly you can be praised by the media, and I also know how quickly you can be criticised,” Clarke said.
“I’m not silly enough at 32 to look past tomorrow because I know with a couple of ducks, my job will be on the line or a couple of losses will put me under immense pressure.
“The team is exactly the same. That has been my advice to a lot of players who come onto the international scene. It’s very easy to say ‘Don’t look too far ahead’. But it’s crucial in this world, and that’s where we sit as a team.
“A few months ago, we were the worst Australian team ever to tour India. Ricky Ponting might have said in an article the other day that this series could be the greatest-ever Ashes win by an Australian team. So things can change. I’ll make sure I stay focused on this Test match,” he added.
The urn might be won, but individuals in the Australian team are still striving to cement their places and build confidence before the intriguing tour of South Africa. Opener Chris Rogers admits being under pressure as one of the two batsmen, along with George Bailey, yet to score a century in the series.