On the fourth day lof the last test, I checked the score, to see Australia's progress in chasing 299 to win a consolation test. I was alarmed to see it was 147-1. While I was checking the score, a second wicket went down, but I was still relatively pessimistic of England winning. Let's be honest, they've won, but hardly in style and could as well be 3-1 down as 3-0 up as they are.
But we should never forget the propensity of the Australian batting lineup to crack. For those of us scarred by years of Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Martyn, Clarke, the Waugh twins, Slater and of course Gilchrist, we are not used to this. It is a wonder in our eyes, as Queen Elizabeth (the one who wasn't Queen of Australia) might have put it.
I have no sympathy, having memories of 1997, 1999/2000, 2001, 2002/3 and 2006/7.
But England must not relent, they ought to aim for 4-0, if not 3-0 at the least. England often won a test at the end, "When the Aussies were hungover from celebrating their wins" as Nasser Hussain put it. Let's not dangle that carrot. The next Ashes aren't 2 years away, they are a few months. It's vital to keep up the mental pressure in what is effectively a 10 test, two continent mega-series. We don't need to give them a boost for the next series. When England won at Sydney in 2003 after losing the preceding 4, they went on to win the next Ashes in 2005.
This has been an odd series. England have yet to reach 400 in an innings, whereas Australia have. The highest score of the series, often a barometer of performance, is held by the Aussies (thus far). Despite this, England have been consistent, which is why they are where they are. Even without too many runs from the top 4! They have won thanks to a glorious run of form for Ian Bell. Is it really the same Ian Bell of the painful and tortuous memories of 2005? Not really.
I hope they can keep it going back down under.