Shane Warne saw the first signs of Australia’s Ashes resurgence in the depths of their despair.
Australian cricket’s spin king said the capitulation at Lord’s earlier this year on the way to the 3-0 series loss had proved a turning point.
Now the English are suffering – they have lost the Ashes and are trying to avoid a series whitewash.
“I don’t think this was a surprise – we saw some points back after that Lord’s Test, when Australia were probably embarrassed by England,” Warne said.
“That really hurt them and I think people underestimated how much the Australian team was hurting.
“In the last three Tests, through Michael Clarke’s declarations, by putting the team in situations where they had to learn how to win … they kept working hard.
“You’re seeing all that hard work pay off.”
Warne added it is now critical that Australia turn this success into a new era.
“When you think (about) the inclusions of (David) Warner and Mitchell Johnson, they’ve added an X-factor with the bat and the ball,” he said.
“The core of the team is doing well and now we’re seeing (Steve) Smith and other guys come in.
“Hopefully it’s the start of something special.”
Warne is not keen to change the team for the rest of this series unless it is necessary.
“I’d be keeping the foot on the throat,” he said bluntly.
“We’re in good shape, we have good back-up players and if someone makes their debut over the next couple of Tests, we know they’ve earned it and deserve it.”
Warne was speaking after an Ashes lunch in Melbourne for his charity foundation.
He shared a panel with former Test teammates Merv Hughes and Dean Jones, who are also enjoying the change of Australian fortunes.
“The ultimate thing is to beat an Englishman,” Jones said.
“You might have done well against South Africa, India or Pakistan, but Warnie and the boys have all known that … once you do well and win an Ashes series, you have mates for life and it’s defined you as a cricketer.
“People remember Ashes series.”