Aussies 'lowest of the lows'
Sydney - Australia's cricketers were on Tuesday damned by the press as the "lowest of the low" after a disastrous loss to New Zealand and branded a team in crisis ahead of a Test series against world number two India.
Michael Clarke's men handed the Black Caps their first victory on Australian soil in 26 years after a dramatic batting collapse in the second innings in Hobart, described as arguably their most embarrassing defeat in Test history.
"Lowest of the Low," read the headline in Sydney's Daily Telegraph over a photo of a crestfallen Australian number 11 Nathan Lyon, while the Sydney Morning Herald remarked on the once dominant team's loss of form.
"Once the kings of world cricket, Australia are no longer capable of putting away eighth-ranked New Zealand," the Herald said.
Commentators rubbished Australia's batsmen, who gave away a solid lead going into the fourth day to succumb to New Zealand with Clarke and Michael Hussey both out for nought and Ricky Ponting making just 16.
"It's sad and getting silly," Robert Craddock wrote in the Telegraph.
"If new chairperson of selectors John Inverarity is not brave enough to end Ricky Ponting's Test career, he should stand down himself."
Others called for opener Phil Hughes, who made just 24 runs over two innings, to be dropped.
"His sacking is so obvious it will barely be discussed by the (selection) panel when they meet early next week and he will not be recalled under any circumstances against India," said Craddock.
All commentators criticised the inability of the batting line-up to finish off the Kiwis, after Australia failed to reach a 241 target despite at one point only requiring 82 runs to win the match with eight wickets in hand.
Test debutant David Warner almost took his side to victory with an unbeaten 123, but he could not stem the rapid fall of wickets, including those of Ponting, Clarke and Hussey who were all removed within 15 balls.
"The top order again failed against the swinging delivery, a fact that will be noted by India as it prepares for the four-Test post-Christmas series," wrote Peter Lalor in The Australian.
Lalor added that Australia's recent score of just 47 in Cape Town and the historic loss to New Zealand proved "this inconsistent team had new depths to plumb".
"Australia will head into the marquee series of the Test summer with a misfiring batting line-up vulnerable to costly and spectacular collapses if yesterday's humiliating defeat to New Zealand has not sharpened John Inverarity's axe," concluded the Herald.