Aussies Embarrassed by Ashes ‘Darkest Day’

Sydney: Australia’s humiliating batting collapse against England which saw the team all out for 60 before lunch was acknowledged Friday as a “horror show” and “as bad as it gets”. (Scorecard | Day 1 report)

Michael Clarke’s men were demolished in just 111 balls on the first day at Trent Bridge on Thursday in the shortest completed first innings in Test history, all but smashing hopes of an Ashes victory for the tourists. (Related: Ponting and Warne blast Australia’s lack of guts | Broad’s eight for 15 rewrites record books)

“Australian cricket has spiralled into crisis after arguably the darkest day in Ashes history, as England took an extraordinary 214-run lead heading into day two,” declared Brisbane’s Courier Mail.

Australia’s specialist batsmen were destroyed by England’s bowling in the fourth Ashes Test, with Stuart Broad taking eight wickets for just 15 runs. The home side’s Joe Root then followed with a stunning 124 not out.

“Before lunch, Australia had already been Broadsided. By stumps their Ashes campaign was all but Rooted,” said the Courier Mail online. (Also read: Endgame for Michael Clarke?)

“Not since Australia stuttered to 58 in 1936 have they suffered a worse Ashes collapse.”

Ben Horne from Sydney’s Daily Telegraph said not only were the tourists outclassed, they were made to look like, as Ian Botham described, “an under-19s team on the village green”.

“Australian cricket faces a mass cleanout. This is as bad as it gets, in the only series Australians genuinely care about,” Horne added.

The Sydney Morning Herald described the wipe-out — in which extras accounted for the most runs on the Australian scoreboard with 14 — as “a first day that will live in infamy”.

“Australia came into the Test needing to make history as the first team in almost 80 years to overturn a 1:2 Ashes deficit,” wrote Jesse Hogan.

“Within one session they made history — for the wrong reasons,” he said, adding it was “unfathomable” that their innings could be so brief.

The Herald said the entire first innings fitted within the 140 characters of a single Tweet and noted that skipper Clarke’s eight-minute post-play press conference lasted as long as his first three batsmen did at the crease.

The Australian newspaper called the innings a “Trent Bridge horror show”, with cricket writer Peter Lalor saying while Broad was assisted by the wicket, the Australian batsmen showed “no patience or intelligence”.

The dismal performance was at least being accepted with good humour by foreign minister Julie Bishop, who was questioned on what could be done for the team after the humiliation.

“I’m not sure that there’s anything more that I can do but just cheer them on,” Bishop said on Channel Seven’s Sunrise programme.

“We do have great expectations of our cricket team but I think we should let them come home, I really do. I think we should let them come home and face the music here.”

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