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Pinnacle of my career: Clarke

By AAP .
18 December 2013 02:54AM EST

AUSTRALIA skipper Michael Clarke says reclaiming the Ashes is the pinnacle of his career and it's only come about because of the hard work and sacrifice of his teammates.

Australia won back the urn with a clinical 150-run victory over England in the third Test at the WACA, giving the home side an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.

Clarke entered this series having experienced the pain of three Ashes defeats in four attempts, including the 3-0 loss in England only months ago.

He was part of Australia's 5-0 Ashes clean sweep in 2006/07 which avenged the 2005 loss, but says this triumph is close to his heart.

"For the guys in the dressing room to feel this. I don't think you'll find one bloke in that dressing room who won't say that this is the pinnacle," Clarke said.

"I certainly don't want to disrespect 2006/07.

"That was a very special series at a very different time in my career.

"I was a lot younger, but that was very special. Now a little bit older, a little bit greyer, this is certainly as special.

"We got them back so it feels amazing.

"Our goal is to get back to being the number one team in the world. But we've got two more Test matches and we'd love to go five-nil up in the series."

He lauded his teammates for the way they bounced back after coming into this series without a win in nine Tests.

"If you don't have success ... you get to a stage when you get sick of losing or you get sick of not scoring runs or not taking wickets," he said.

"And it goes one of two ways. As a player, you get dropped or you find a way to turn it around and have success.

"I think that's what this team's done ... when you haven't won, you find a way to turn it around and the only way to do that is through hard work, lots of dedication, lots of sacrifice and putting the team first.

"You would have seen throughout this series individual players have put the team first on every single occasion and that's why we sit here as winners today."

Clarke said he felt for rival captain Alastair Cook.

"I know what Alastair feels like at the moment. It wasn't that long ago that I sat in the same position," Clarke said.

"Alastair Cook is a fantastic leader.

"To play 100 Test matches, and have the record he has, I think he deserves a lot of recognition.

"I believe Alastair Cook is a wonderful player and a very good captain - and I certainly don't believe he deserves the criticism I've read in the last few days. Nor do the England team."

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