ADELAIDE (AP) - The Australian team were the butt of jokes in world cricket only eight months ago.
They were ridiculed after being swept 4-0 in a series in India, and were subjected to further scorn after a failed Champions Trophy defence in June - and that was before Mickey Arthur was fired as coach only weeks before the last Ashes series in England.
Darren Lehmann was rushed into the coaching job but could not break the drought as reports of disharmony in the squad swirled around during a 3-0 series loss to England.
But back-to-back test wins in the return Ashes contest suddenly have the Australians on the cusp of a series win.
"This hasn't just been a five-second turnaround," Australia captain Michael Clarke said today after a 218-run win in Adelaide.
"It has been hard work from every single player in our squad over a long period of time that is giving us the results we rightly deserve at the moment."
He is cautious about getting swept up in predictions of an Ashes whitewash.
"The reality is we have won two test matches now in the past 12 months and that is not acceptable as an Australian test team," he said.
"So our feet are certainly well and truly cemented on the ground and we are very realistic about where we want to go as a team."
The main difference has been the impact of Mitchell Johnson, who was not selected for the tour to England but already has 17 wickets in two tests.
He was voted player of the match for the tests in Brisbane and Adelaide.