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Australia 'masters of their own demise': Media

cricket Updated: Jul 18, 2009 15:09 IST
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Australia have only themselves to blame after going from "flat track bullies to hapless hookers" in less than a week during their Ashes battle with England, Australian media said on Saturday.

Ashes holders Australia were 156 for eight at stumps after the second day of the second Test on Friday.

At 269 runs behind England's first innings total of 425, they need a further 70 runs to avoid the follow-on as England bid for a first Test win over Australia at Lord's in 75 years.

"In less than a week Australia's batsmen have gone from flat track bullies to hapless hookers as they handed England a huge advantage in the second Test," The Australian's Malcolm Conn said.

"They have been the masters of their own demise with some dumb batting against a persistent but hardly devastating England attack."

Despite seeing four batsmen score centuries for the first time in an Ashes innings before declaring on 674 for six in Cardiff last week, Australia have experienced a reversal of fortune in the second Test at Lords.

The Sydney Morning Herald said Australia collapsed when the real Jimmy Anderson revealed himself with a destructive display of swing bowling as the touring team failed to recover from the controversial dismissal of captain Ricky Ponting.

"Anderson, who averaged 85 runs a wicket against Australia before this series, cut a swathe through the batting order," The Herald's Chloe Saltau said.

"Australia slumped to 2-10 when Anderson claimed the early wicket of Phillip Hughes and then, with the help of a poor decision from umpire Rudi Koertzen, had Ponting caught at first slip off his pads for two."

The Daily Telegraph said Australia's Ashes campaign is in tatters and only a major fightback will prevent them from losing just their second Test at Lord's in more than 100 years.

Ashes 2005 tourist Damien Martyn said his former teammates were guilty of poor shot selection.

"Five Australia batsmen got out hooking. There was some poor shot selection by some of the Australia batsmen, but that was created by good bowling from England and the pressure of the situation," Martyn said on SBS TV.

"England may well find themselves with a big decision to make early on day three.

"I'm 50-50 on the follow-on. I've been in situations where it has worked, and when it hasn't."

Sydney Morning Herald columnist Peter Roebuck said the second Test match has been a tale of the rise and fall of crucial players.

"On their previous overseas tour (opener) Phillip Hughes and (fast bowler) Mitchell Johnson were pillars of the team," Roebuck said.

"Now these same fellows are causing headaches in the camp. Unless they can recapture their best games the Australians will be hard pressed to retain the Ashes."