Australian media call for selectors' heads

Australian media call for selectors' heads

Ricky Ponting's side crashed to a humiliating innings and 157-run defeat in Melbourne yesterday, allowing holders England to retain the Ashes in Australia for the first time in more than 20 years.

"You're all fired!" declared the front page of Sydney's Daily Telegraph tabloid, featuring shots of Ponting, vice-captain Michael Clarke, coach Tim Nielsen and Andrew Hilditch,
Australia's chairman of selectors.

Several newspapers carried pictures of the victorious England players performing "The Sprinkler", a comedy dance invented by spinner Graeme Swann, on the Melbourne Cricket Ground field.

The magnitude of the loss, Australia's worst against England since 1956, added to the pain, but the Telegraph said it was the glaring lack of prospects in the home side which wounded most.

"In 1956 our national team was relatively young and inexperienced. For them the only way was up," it said in its editorial.

"In 2010 it's not quite the same... It could be that a top-to-bottom reconstruction is called for."

The Australian newspaper's Malcolm Conn agreed, calling for officials to fall on their swords.

"The Cricket Australia board is ultimately responsible for this country's tumble from grace as a Test nation," wrote Conn.

"It wallowed in the glory of Australia's decade of domination instead of reading the signs of what was coming."

He said an inept Australia had been "out-planned, out-thought, out-prepared and outplayed", "humiliated by a third-ranked nation which has one superstar, the South African-born Kevin Pietersen, when he gets his head right".

Former opener Stuart Clark said Australia's top-order was lacking and they had serious bowling issues, with no viable spinner and little variety in style.

"No one within the team or outside can dispute the fact that England have outplayed Australia in every facet of this game," Clark wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald.

One letter to the Herald's editor lashed cricket officials for turning the team's top players "into a sideshow and a laughing stock" by allowing them to take part in adverts for fast food.

"Surely Cricket Australia has an obligation to ensure the team is prepared and presented as a beacon of integrity and ability (which it once was), not some over-commercialised, morally bankrupt group of B-grade actors promoting unhealthy diets," it said.

The newspaper's sports section led with "An Apology to England's Cricketers and Supporters", admitting it was "a superior team that deserved its triumph" and made the

"Australian top order look like invertebrates".

"Not that you are prone to relinquishing it anyway, but we accept the urn this time truly belongs at Lord's," the Herald said.

"We will call a moratorium on references to infrequent bathing, questionable orthodontistry, general pastiness and warm beer... We thank you for putting on a magnificent show."

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