Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 5th day January 28, 2012

'Shown the world we're on the way up' - Clarke

Australia's completion of a 4-0 hiding of India at Adelaide Oval was a triumph without triumphalism. The hosts' captain Michael Clarke said his side was far from "the leader of the pack" after rounding up the visiting tail on the final morning, and he expressed the desire to keep learning from other nations and their methods as his team maintained its climb up the ICC rankings.

Empirically Australia are still ranked behind India, albeit by the barest of margins. Practically they are playing cricket as staunch as any team in the world, but have only just learned how to do it consistently. It cannot be forgotten that Clarke's last Test before the India series began was a loss to New Zealand, the first since 1993.

"Are we the leader of the pack? I don't think we are," Clarke said. "Right now we're not the No.1 Test team in the world, so it's about us trying to become better every single day. We will continue like we have done my whole career to look at other teams and see their strengths and weaknesses, and see where we can improve.

"That's been no different my whole career, whether we've been the No. 1 team in the world or sitting in the No.4 spot. We're playing really well as a group, but we have a lot of work still to do, to achieve what we want to achieve."

Beyond Adelaide lies Twenty20 matches and ODIs against India and Sri Lanka, before a tour of the West Indies. There will be an ODI taster against England in mid-year, then the World Twenty20 before Test battles resume against South Africa and Sri Lanka. Clarke said a consistently high level of performance remained the salient goal of his team.

"The consistency has been an area that we've had to work on as a team," Clarke said. "The loss in South Africa and the loss against New Zealand is something that I guess every player in that change room has had in the front of their minds. That has probably been a bit of an inspiration to make sure when we feel like things are going well to keep pushing forward, to make the most of the momentum that we've been able to have.

"I hate to say it but I think you need that throughout your career. You need to go through a few tough times individually and as a team to realise how hard it is Test cricket but then how special it when you have days like today and a series like this. We're currently ranked fourth in the world so we've got a hell of a lot of work to do to get back to where I'd love to see this team going.

"We've shown a lot of people around the world that w'e're on the way up. We're getting there. We're betting better every day."

Clarke's own performance was a large part of Australia's victory. His aggregate of 626 runs at 125.20 represent a new high-water mark for Clarke in a series - he had never topped 500 in a series previously. Its centrepiece was a monumental 329 not out in Sydney.

"It was a big series for me for the main reason that I didn't perform [in the Ashes] last summer," Clarke said. "I have said since taking over the captaincy that I wanted to lead from the front on the field and make sure I was scoring runs and it's very pleasing to have achieved that this Test series.

"I think I have learnt a lot along the way over the last four Test matches, I think I will continue to learn. It obviously helps when you have got some very good players around you, it makes my job a lot easier. Fortunately we have got some good rewards."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here