Australia face fight to save Ashes: Media
Australian media agonised on Tuesday over their team's Ashes Test defeat to England and grumbled about controversial umpiring decisions after going 1-0 down in the series. Columnist Malcolm Conn said captain Ponting faced a major fight to save the coveted trophy after England's first victory over Australia at Lord's, the "home of cricket," in 75 yrs.cricket Updated: Jul 21, 2009 11:09 IST
Australian media agonised on Tuesday over their team's Ashes Test defeat to England and grumbled about controversial umpiring decisions after going 1-0 down in the series.
Columnist Malcolm Conn said captain Ricky Ponting faced a major fight to save the coveted trophy after England's first victory over Australia at Lord's, the "home of cricket," in 75 years.
England polished off Australia's second innings before lunch on the fifth day to win by 115 runs, handing them the momentum with three games left to play.
"Ricky Ponting faces the greatest challenge of his captaincy to save the Ashes series," Conn wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
"For decades we have heard how Australians are always inspired by the spiritual home of cricket," he added. "Unfortunately this inexperienced team was overwhelmed by the occasion."
A Sydney Morning Herald editorial lamented umpiring standards, after replays appeared to show England captain Andrew Strauss grassing a catch off Australian opener Phillip Hughes.
"What standards does the International Cricket Council live by?" the Herald complained.
"This is the television age, an era unforgiving of error by referees and umpires in major sports.
"Yet even with the benefit of replay, the match officials in the current Ashes series have produced a medley of incompetence and inconsistency that has cast a shadow over the series."
A series of questionable decisions received widespread coverage here, while The Age's Greg Baum also hit out at England's "unexpectedly cynical" attitude.
"It stands in stark contrast to the generally noble spirit of the 2005 series," Baum wrote.
"It was evident before the series began, in the widespread sneering towards the unorthodoxy of rookie opener Phillip Hughes. It showed in England's elaborate time-wasting tactics at the end of the first Test in Cardiff, which lay in that bleak no-man's-land between gamesmanship and cheating.
"At Lord's, England again has been the uglier team ... England's bowlers have sledged more than Australia's. From 20,000 kilometres, it scarcely matters what they are saying: it is a puerile look."
However, the Herald's sports section focused on the key role played by limping England bowler Andrew Flintoff, leading with the headline, "Beaten by the man on one knee."
Columnist Peter Roebuck said the defeat -- hastened by Flintoff's five-wicket haul in the second innings -- was symptomatic of Australian cricket's decline from the heady heights of the 1990s and early 2000s.
"Neither umpires, toss, luck nor the conditions were to blame for Australia's poor position," wrote columnist Peter Roebuck.
"Throughout, their fate has lain in their own hands. For three-and-a-half days the Australians were outgunned. At no stage did they look like the best side in the world."