'From mediocrity to desperation': the Australian press on the Ashes
The British media have taken great delight in tormenting Michael Clarke's side after their defeat in the second Test but if Australia think they'll get some respite from the press at home, they're in for a shock. "This could well be the worst Australian side ever to embark on an Ashes tour … Australia must find a way of scoring runs or be consigned to the dust bowl of history,".
in the Australian is even more withering: "Australia has clocked up some vintage defeats over the last few years. MCG 2010. Newlands 2011. Waca 2012. But Lord's 2013 has been as shabby and public a humbling as any of them. Victor Trumper! Donald Bradman! Shane Warne and by now probably Elizabeth Hurley! Your boys took one hell of a beating!"
In the Age, : "The most sobering aspect of Australia's crash from mediocrity to desperation is there is no clear way back."
Where should Australian cricket turn then? In the Sydney Morning Herald, : "The Carl Hooper of Australian cricket remains as he ever was, a mercurial talent who would have been an added bonus in a winning team, but is asked to shoulder more than he can handle as a leader in a losing one."
"[Watson] could sell advertising space on his pads, so prominently are they featuring in each day's play," observes Haigh.
Knox does, however, derive a glimmer of hope from Usman Khawaja: "Sound in defence and opportunistic on the short ball, he offered a morsel of hope and a good response to the selectors who had discarded him in 2011. If he can play four or five more innings like this in the series, he might discover that elusive sense of belonging."
Haigh notes that maybe Australia should look elsewhere for their batting saviour: "A macabre statistic is that their 10th-wicket partnership is the most reliable component of their batting, having provided 31.6% of their runs in this series. If this happened at your club, you would reverse the order. If it goes on happening, Australia might as well."
When Mickey Arthur was sacked as coach in the run-up to the current series, many thought Australia's problems had been at least partly solved. of the Courier Mail: "With the Australian side's disciplinary levels fading with their performances, Arthur, it was reasoned, had to be the problem. Surely, it could not have been - gulp - us?"
If the Aussies want to quantify just how badly they performed, . Then again they may not want to: only Ryan Harris (7/10) merits any praise while three players (Brad Haddin, Ashton Agar and Phil Hughes) muster just 1/10. An achievement, of sorts.
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