Eng­land belts Aus­tralian cricket into cri­sis

The Pak Banker - - International3 -

ADE­LAIDE: Aus­tralia's once all-con­quer­ing crick­eters were branded the worst side in baggy green caps in 25 years af­ter be­ing hum­bled on Tues­day by Eng­land's easy in­nings-and-71-run vic­tory in the sec­ond Ashes Test in Ade­laide.

Cap­tain Ricky Ponting's side, which scraped a draw in the first en­counter with An­drew Strauss' team in Bris­bane last week, now has to win two of the three re­main­ing Tests to wrest back a tro­phy that sup­pos­edly con­tains the ashes of wick­ets burned in 1882 af­ter Eng­land recorded a fa­mous loss to its colony's vis­i­tors.

"Santa's on his way, but he'll need to open with the Tooth Fairy and have the Easter Bunny bat­ting at four if you be­lieve in fairy­tale comebacks," said bet­ting agency Sports­bet's Matthew Camp­bell.

"It's been our skills and maybe our thought pro­cesses that have let us down," Ponting said of a team hav­ing its worst run in 13 years. "We've faced a lot of chal­lenges, and the guys have stood up to those chal­lenges, but we haven't been good enough to win them. That's the bot­tom line."

With Aus­tralia con­tem­plat­ing its eighth suc­ces­sive se­ries loss in all forms of the game, Ponting's fu­ture as cap­tain looks bleak. When he was ap­pointed in 2004, Aus­tralia were the world's top-ranked side. Now, the lads in the baggy green caps lan­guish in fifth place.

"Ponting is the great­est bats­man we've pro­duced since Don Brad­man; how­ever, his cricket IQ is ex­tremely low," The Aus­tralia news­pa­per com­mented.

"Ponting's win/loss record looks good, but if you dig deeper, many of those wins are against lowly-ranked Test teams. It is his lack of self­aware­ness that makes me sure that he will need a push." Jim Maxwell, the doyen of Aus­tralian cricket com­men­ta­tors, de­spaired of Aus­tralia if they could not find new bowlers. -Afp

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