In the first week of this year, Australian cricket was a humiliated entity. Since then, it has submitted to three reviews and spilled every position and structure. It has played nine Tests in three countries, beaten Sri Lanka, South Africa and now India, but also lost to New Zealand. It has made as few as 47 and as many as 488 in an innings. It mounted a record run chase against South Africa, but failed in a modest one against the Kiwis. It has tried 18 players, some of whom were uncertain that the cap fitted, others unsure that it still did. But, oddly enough, the spinner was a constant. Yesterday, it finished this most tumultuous of calendar years with a thumping victory over cricket's powerhouse, witnessed over four days by the biggest crowd for an India Test in this country. Teams being rebuilt are mercurial, but this one at least can believe that its best is good enough.
One can see a good camaraderie between Ponting and Clarke, and that's a big thumbs-up to the skipper. A lot of teams have leaders who look to keep the past captain away as they want their own boys and own group, but Clarke has showed enormous maturity in that department. That will really stand him in good stead with his tenure as captain. You can see that in the way Ponting and Hussey bailed him out of trouble at the crucial juncture.
The abject surrender in the first Test - and especially the second innings - not only belies expectations of a first-ever series win Down Under, but throws up several new stringent queries, the most pertinent being whether MS Dhoni's team has not been hyped way beyond its abilities.
Dustin Silgardo is a former sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo