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Last Updated: Monday, 29 March, 2004, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Australia's victory monumental
Justin Langer
By Justin Langer
Australia Test batsman

So much has happened over the last week that I am feeling drained, both emotionally and physically.

By hanging in there and having faith in myself I managed to achieve one of my great ambitions
This entire Test series in Sri Lanka has been an incredible journey both personally and for the team.

Before we arrived, my gut feeling told me this was the strongest Australian squad, in terms of depth and experience, I have been a part of.

But it is never easy beating Sri Lanka on their home turf and we have literally played at our best over the last month to achieve an inspiring 3-0 result - played in some of the most oppressive conditions I have ever experienced.

The last Test was a battle of endurance, skill and of wills.

We were determined to create history and throw off this so-called "dead rubber" syndrome that has dogged the team

But the proud Sri Lankans were desperate to make amends for losses in the first two Tests.

In temperatures of up to 38C, with humidity at 90%, the game see-sawed, with bat dominating ball for most of the time.

Scoring a century was more of a relief than anything else for me.

I have struggled here before and this series was heading towards a disaster unless I produced something special.

Winning 3-0 in Sri Lanka is a monumental achievement for Australian cricket
By hanging in there and having faith in myself I managed to achieve one of my great ambitions - scoring runs in Sri Lanka against Muttiah Muralitharan.

He is a master and it is a shame in many ways that he is facing further controversy over his action.

As we took the field on Sunday after a very long summer, there were many reasons why the guys could have taken their feet of the accelerator.

Weary minds and bodies, more crippling heat, thoughts of a beckoning homecoming and satisfaction of a series already won could all have hindered us.

But we knew we wouldn't be doing ourselves justice if we were to take the easy option and succumb to this complacency.

It took all day and every inch of energy but we left the field as victors with only nine balls left.

Over the years I have been fortunate to play in some brilliant Test matches and series but I have never felt as proud of my team-mates as I did afterwards.

Winning 3-0 in Sri Lanka is a monumental achievement for Australian cricket and one that will be remembered for years to come.

Warne celebrates a wicket
Warne's impact on the top order ranks him above Murali
This series has had everything.

The cat and mouse chase between Shane Warne and Murali has been intriguing.

In the end I believe Warney's man-of-the-series effort set him apart because he had a greater impact on Sri Lanka's top order.

After 12 months away it was breathtaking to watch our champion leg-spinner weave his ruthless magic.

Our batting throughout was also marvellous.

There have been doubts over our ability to conquer spinning pitches but many of these would have been alleviated in this series.

Damien Martyn and Darren Lehmann were particularly good, while everyone else gained huge confidence boosts for the future in the subcontinent.

Team spirit was again unbreakable and it must have been humbling for Sri Lanka, who had chances to win in every Test match.

It has been said Australian cricket is coming to the end of an era but, in Ricky Ponting's first series as captain, another warning has been sounded for the future.

With five weeks to recuperate, this tour could act as a springboard rather than the stumbling block that many expected.

At times it has been very hard work, but all in all this has been one of the best tours of my career.

From the plane home to Perth,

Kandy win up there with the best
21 Mar 04  |  Cricket
Phenomenal Warne bounces back
13 Mar 04  |  Cricket

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