With the sport in crisis after a dismal performance against South Africa in the first two Tests of a three-Test series, the press was unrelenting in its criticism.
“Humiliating”, the Sydney Morning Herald screamed in a front page headline, while The Australian said: “Disgrace to the Baggy Green”.
The tabloid Sydney Daily Telegraph called the team “a bunch of amateurs”, with cricket writer Robert Craddock saying they had become pampered and lost their backbone.
“Australian cricket is facing its greatest crisis in 30 years, and it only has itself to blame,” he said, adding that there were no longer any of the “flint hard Test players that once did our nation proud”.
“Australia’s players are overpaid and mollycoddled to the point where the priceless quality that separates the great from the good – resilience – is almost invisible.
“Australia is facing the reality that old fashioned, stone-faced Test match warriors like Allan Border and Steve Waugh are a dying breed.”
Sydney Morning Herald cricket correspondent Greg Baum followed a similar theme after another batting collapse in Hobart on Monday (Nov 14) sent them spiralling to an innings and 80 run defeat.
“It is the meekness that was so shocking. For so long, the Australian cricket team’s hallmark has been its swagger and braggadocio,” he said.
“Even when charging, all guns blazing, to occasional defeat, it was unapologetic about it. It was ‘the way we play’”: an unofficial motto.
All major newspaper agreed change must happen, and fast.
“The captain has no answers. The coach has no answers. The men in suits are boarding planes,” said The Australian’s senior sports writer Peter Lalor.
“Heads have to roll, but no matter how many sacrifices are made, it will not satisfy the blood lust of the public, of whose game they are the guardians.”
Coach Darren Lehmann on Monday declared only four players were sure to keep their places for the third Test in Adelaide next week.
Skipper Steve Smith, opener David Warner and bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are seen as safe.
Lalor added “an examination of the tenure of the CEO, the high-performance manager and Lehmann himself must also be on the cards”.
“There is a pattern developing, and it is an ugly one,” he said.