The view from Sydney 'We're bad losers. We get angry'

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The Independent Online

"It's our biggest sport, they're our biggest rivals and this is the first time I've seen us lose the Ashes," he said. "We're a laid back lot but when we lose it feels really bad. We get angry about it. We're bad losers. But the Poms are bad winners. They shove it in your face. I'm just glad I don't have any English friends."

Ben and two friends travelled from the western suburb of Parramatta to watch the final day's play.

Many were happy to miss the humiliation altogether.

The climax came in the middle of the night, and after the nightmare of " Freddie" Flintoff's fourth-day blitz, blissful slumber seemed a preferable option for a nation that seemed to have accepted its unlikely fall from grace.

Most Sydney pubs that had been packed throughout the series closed long before the end of play, and just a few diehards stayed on at all-night establishments.

Australia's final-day pain was played out in a million living rooms, where Channel 4's coverage was beamed into homes through the terrestrial channel, SBS.

This proud sporting nation has taken a battering in recent times. The Wallabies have never quite been the same since being beaten by England in rugby's World Cup Final in 2003. They have lost their last five matches.

With the peak tourist season just weeks away, and thousands more Poms on their way, the news could barely be worse.