Australian media reaction to Ashes defeat

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The Independent Online

Australia's newspapers have been carrying out a post-mortem after England retained the Ashes with a crushing innings and 157-run victory in the fourth Test at the MCG.

Here, we take a look at the reaction in the media Down Under with much of the focus on the future of beleaguered skipper Ricky Ponting.



THE AUSTRALIAN



Malcolm Conn demands urgent changes to the way Australian cricket is run and turns his sights on the Cricket Australia board, describing it as a "plodding, reactive, 19th century anachronism failing to keep pace in an ever-changing 21st century world," and insisting it should be replaced with a "proactive, forward-thinking independent commission not bound in parochial state-based chains."



Conn adds: "The CA board is ultimately responsible for this country's tumble from grace as a Test nation. It wallowed in the glory of Australia's decade of domination instead of reading the signs of what was coming.



"It's one thing to be flogged by the once mighty West Indies after the upheaval of World Series Cricket and rebel tours of South Africa. It is quite another to be humiliated by a third-ranked nation which has one superstar, the South African-born Kevin Pietersen, when he gets his head right."



The Australian also likened the Ashes defeat to the sinking of the Titanic and said the "only question that remained was whether the captain would go down with his ship."



The paper said Ponting had shown "little of the proud master and commander" who has made four Test centuries at the MCG and 39 in his career.



THE AGE



Under a 'Rotten To The Core' headline, Peter Roebuck writes that relegation down the order would be preferable to stripping Ponting of the captaincy.



"Ricky Ponting has his failings and his record is blotted by the loss of three Ashes series, but he has two World Cups and umpteen victories. His poor form is a concern, but that does not mean it is over for him.



"Plainly, though, the combination of captaining a struggling side and batting at first wicket down has taken a toll.



"He could be retained a while longer as captain and instructed to bat at number five. Many captains have slipped down the order or started there, including Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd. He has earned the respite."



Australia coach Tim Nielsen and the Australian selectors do not fare as well, with reference being made to Nielsen having been "outplayed by his counterpart" (Andy Flower) and the selectors accused of forgetting the fundamentals. "They could start by naming a proper opening pair. It is a specialist skill."



SYDNEY MORNING HERALD



Former Australia seamer Stuart Clark, writing in the Herald, bemoans a lack of top-order batting partnerships and points out that England had more stability in their top order.



Clark also highlights two "glaring issues" on the bowling front; the lack of a "viable spinner" and a lack of variety in Australia's seam attack compared to England, who have a "varied and balanced attack capable of taking 20 wickets on all surfaces."



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