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Australia's 'toothless' bowlers spark concern

india Updated: Feb 20, 2007 10:33 IST

Australia's bowlers have been savaged as "toothless and directionless" by their media after another humiliating one-day cricket defeat in the lead-up to next month's World Cup.

Australia's likely World Cup attack could not prevent New Zealand from completing the second-highest run chase in limited-overs history in Auckland yesterday to lose the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy and surrender the number one ranking to South Africa.

The defending World Cup champions failed to defend a ground record 336 for four and were run down by the Kiwis with 337 for seven just days after a humiliating first 10-wicket defeat in 646 one-day internationals played across 36 years.

"Australia has lost its unbeatable aura and number one world ranking after its bowlers were pasted to all parts of Auckland's Eden Park," The Australian newspaper said on Monday.

"South Africa goes into next month's World Cup in the Caribbean as the leading one-day nation."

Of particular concern is the performance of the Australian bowlers, unable to take a New Zealand wicket in Wellington and then relinquishing a seemingly unbeatable record total in Auckland.

"None of Australia's four headline pacemen -- Glenn McGrath, Nathan Bracken, Shaun Tait or Shane Watson -- threatened the Black Caps' batsmen for extended periods, while the spinners, Brad Hogg and Cameron White, were toothless and directionless on a miniscule ground that forgives neither," The Sydney Morning Herald said.