"Can we start our summer now?" Michael Clarke, the stand-in captain, asked the question after Australia had ended a seven-match losing streak with an eight-wicket win over a switched-off Sri Lanka at the Gabba.

Australia's international summer usually opens in Brisbane with the first Test, but this three-game one-day series was squeezed in, with organisers hoping it would spark the Ashes summer. Instead it resulted in the home side falling to three defeats in a week in front of tiny crowds, including only 9037 for the dead rubber.

Clarke's half-century to finish off the contest and strong performances from Clint McKay and Mitchell Starc improved the local moods. McKay grabbed career-best figures of 5 for 33 and Starc impressed in his second ODI with 4 for 27 as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 115.

"It will kick-start our summer along nicely with the Ashes coming up, then the one-dayers before the World Cup," McKay said. "It's the first step in the right direction to make sure we play some good cricket all summer."

The win was Australia's first in all forms of the game since July and McKay said it was "a bit of a relief". "But with the belief we have in the group at the moment, we knew we weren't too far away," McKay said. "We had been playing good cricket at times but just hadn't come away with the win."

Starc is only 20 but showed he was one to watch and easily out-bowled Mitchell Johnson, the side's other left-arm fast man. "He hasn't stopped smiling," McKay said of Starc. "He bowled beautifully tonight and he's a great one for the future.

"There's a lot of young quicks coming through and Mitch put his hand up tonight. He bowled with good pace and had it swinging around a bit and he's going to be one to watch out for."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo