The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

AUS­TRALIA’S crick­eters have lost their “fear fac­tor” and could be head­ing to­wards a West Indies-style de­cline, bat­ting great Brian Lara has warned. Lara, whose ca­reer be­gan when the now strug­gling West Indies were in the as­cen­dancy in the 1980s, sees some sim­i­lar­i­ties in the tra­jec­tory of Steve Smith’s Aus­tralia. His com­ments come af­ter Aus­tralia lost their fifth straight Test in an ig­no­min­ious in­nings de­feat to South Africa in Ho­bart on Tues­day’s fourth day. “The fear fac­tor is no longer there and a sim­i­lar thing hap­pened to the West Indies 25 years ago,” Lara told News Corp news­pa­pers. “When Aus­tralia beat us at home in 1995, no one feared us any more and that’s go­ing to be the sit­u­a­tion with Aus­tralia. Es­pe­cially if they are not trav­el­ling well.” Lara said he feared Aus­tralia also risked go­ing into a “down­ward spi­ral”, claim­ing their 3-0 Test se­ries loss in Sri Lanka in July and Au­gust has given op­po­nents a sense of their vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

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