Oz shell-shocked by collapse

2011-11-11 20:42

Cape Town - Australian cricket was shaken to its core by the nature of its eight-wicket loss to South Africa, leaving new captain Michael Clarke questioning the team's fighting spirit and blasting its spectacularly bad performance.

Just four tests into his reign, Clarke said he'd never experienced a more disappointing loss in his 73-test career than on Friday in Cape Town.

"I'm hoping that's as bad as it gets in my career," he said.

Australia's capitulation at Newlands saw it throw away a dominant first-innings lead in a scarcely believable batting collapse and then — in the words of Clarke — fail to fight hard enough in the field to stop South Africa romping to victory.

Clarke criticized Australia's allround display after one of the most traumatic test defeats for cricket's former power, but Australia's lack of fight on the final day was telling for a team which prides itself on a never-say-die mantra.

"I would have liked to see us fight a bit harder today and have a bit more of a crack," Clarke said. "(It's) about looking into each other's eyes and finding the courage to see where you let the team down."

The skipper — whose magnificent 151 in the first innings was made meaningless by Australia's disastrous 47 all out in the second — could now oversee a significant shift for the game's most successful team with the long-term futures of veterans Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin in doubt.

It's not farfetched to predict that former skipper Ponting — undoubtedly one of Australia's great batsmen — and Haddin could be playing their final series.

Asked if Australia needed to make changes for the second test in Johannesburg next week, Clarke answered: "I've got to get through today first.

"I've got to sit and have a look at exactly what's happened and communicate with the guys in the team firstly, that's my priority, and then also I'm sure I'll have a couple of messages on my phone from selectors, so I'm going to need to speak to them."

Barely two months since starting Clarke's captaincy with a series win in Sri Lanka — and moving on from an Ashes grilling by England under Ponting — the heat's back on Australia.

It underperformed in every aspect in the three days against South Africa, Clarke said.

"I don't want to hide away from the fact of how bad we played in our second innings but I also don't want to hide away from the fact that if we had made 600 in our second innings, the way we came out and bowled today ... we still would have been a chance of losing," Clarke said.

"Every single one of us needs to be disappointed, for good reason. When you lose like that, you don't just let yourself down, you let the people who support your team down. The people who want to see the Australian cricket team do well and get back on top ... we let them down."


  • Morne - 2011-11-11 20:57

    Pup, hang in there mate, you are a good player and you have the potential to become a great captain. From the comments or quotes I am reading from you, you are on the right track. Best of luck

      roboman1 - 2011-11-12 09:01

      I agree, it is tough also to captain a side with the ex captain still playing, I reckon Ponting should step aside, great player but he has done his time. And as for SA, all we now need is to drop Majola and Kahn from cricket altogether, cheap little bogey bonus payers, and get new bosses in to CSA. No one can respect them after what they have done in the last year!

      Chris - 2011-11-12 10:29

      At least you were beaten properly, not like you cheated during rugby worldcup. You should have asked Bryce for some pointers.

  • Anneleen - 2011-11-11 21:40

    Well done to our SA cricketers!!!

  • Gabiba - 2011-11-11 21:47

    My heart bleeds for him and Im a HARDCORE Proteas supporters. So often we've been on the wrong end of this kind of humiliation. Like when we were bowled out for 96 on Thurs!

  • Skinfaxi - 2011-11-11 23:22

    Reading some of the Aussie blogs I see that the boys back home are somewhat devastated. All I can say is get used to it because Gary and Alan haven’t even started to work their magic yet. This team is just going to go from strength to strength & some good talent showing through in the South African A side too!

  • Stirer - 2011-11-12 08:13

    Before the match, comments were that South Africa was "undercooked" and ill prepared. After the match it can be said that Australia "choked" and south Africa was ruthless. Australia only played as well as south Africa let them. We must be ruthless in the next match. If the roles were reversed, Australia would put the boot in. We must do the same.

  • John - 2011-11-12 08:24

    Well, it feels good to be onthe winning side for a change. I like the way thhe Ausies refuse to blame anyone else for their loss but themselves. I also can't help thinking of the series against India where we won the first test by an innings and lost the second test by an innings. I hope the same does not happen in this series.This time Gaty Kirsten is on our side.

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