Lord's humiliation fired turnaround
Australia's dramatic turnaround from Test match lightweights to the brink of regaining the Ashes is the flowering of a regeneration that began in the aftermath of shattering defeat in the second match of the previous series at Lord's, the coach, Darren Lehmann, believes.
After completing a second consecutive battering of England at Adelaide Oval, this time despite a pitch that appeared to favour the visitors, Lehmann and the captain, Michael Clarke, said the team's change in fortunes had been a long time in the making.
Lehmann pinpointed the 347-run defeat at Lord's as the moment at which the team resolved to improve, drawing the next match at Old Trafford and beginning to shape the plans and attitudes that have been writ large across the two matches in Brisbane and Adelaide, won by the combined margin of 599 runs as the fearsome Mitchell Johnson harvested 17 wickets.
"I think we started to turn around after Lord's, after the way we played, the brand of cricket we're trying to play," Lehmann said. "We're starting to bat a lot better, bowl a lot better. If you look at the last five matches, we've certainly bowled a lot better, containing England with our plans.
"They're pretty driven this lot. I'm really pleased at what they bring to the table and how they've gone about things over the last few Test matches. We changed a few things in England and they've been a really good, driven bunch of players and support staff who want the right goal for Australian cricket and that's not just short term, that's long term.
"It helps when you win. It would have been nice in England not to have weather but we can't look back. We probably should have won one or two Test matches there. Once you start to win it makes it easier for guys to understand where they're going."
Clarke, who has contributed two centuries in as many Tests but been far from the only standout performer for his side, said victory in Brisbane had helped build confidence among players who had been striving for vindication of their efforts since England.
"I think the boys took a lot of confidence out of Brisbane, but I think we took a lot of confidence out of the back half of England to be honest," Clarke said. "It's nice to see everybody contributing, that's the most pleasing thing about these first two Tests. Although Mitch sits here as Man of the Match once again I think everyone in the team has contributed
"These two wins are satisfying because of the work we've put in over a long period of time. In our opinion it's not a fluke that we've won the first two Test matches. It's the hard work that we've put in. The reality is we've won two Test matches in the past 12 months and that's not acceptable as an Australian Test team. So our feet are well and truly cemented on the ground.''
Australia's selectors have named an unchanged squad for the Perth Test, due to begin on Friday, but have kept Doug Bollinger and Nathan Coulter-Nile on standby as reserve fast bowlers, pending the recoveries of Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Johnson.
"When we get to Perth, as we do for every Test match, every players will be assessed by our medical staff and if they're fully fit and able to perform at 100 per cent, they'll be available for selection," Clarke said. "From the information I have now, everybody's pulled up fine."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here