Australians revel in England cricket debacle

The Australian press have reacted with glee to the latest turmoil in English cricket - just six months ahead of this summer's Ashes series.

With the first Test between the arch-rivals due to get under way in Cardiff on 8 July, Australians today awoke to find Kevin Pietersen had indeed quit as England captain - as had been widely reported yesterday - and Peter Moores sacked as coach.

The Canberra Times took great comfort from the upheaval following Australia's 2-1 series defeat to South Africa.

"If Australian cricket fans thought Ricky Ponting and his men had pre-Ashes problems, they needed only to watch England's leadership saga descend into farce on Wednesday to feel things may be looking up," said the paper.

"Finally with something to smile about after their team's 103-run victory over South Africa in the third Test in Sydney, Australians could be forgiven for laughing out loud as their traditional foes shot themselves in the foot."

The Melbourne Herald Sun spoke of the 28-year-old's "sensational" decision to call it a day after just over five months in the role, labelling his feud with Moores "the most vicious for some time".

"England's Ashes hopes have been thrown into turmoil after Kevin Pietersen sensationally quit as their captain,' wrote The Sun.

"His decision followed a major falling-out with coach Peter Moores.

"English cricket has seen some bloody civil wars but the feud between bull-headed Pietersen and the industrious, unpretentious coach Peter Moores, has been the most vicious for some time."

Before the Ashes, England have a tour to the Caribbean to contend with. Andrew Strauss has been named as skipper, with the new coaching set-up to be announced as soon as possible.

ABC Online described the dispute between former coach and captain as being "one of the most bitter in the game".

The Sydney Morning Herald, whose headline yesterday read 'Chaos reigns, Poms in a mess', ran another piece with Graham Gooch supposedly laying the "blame" for the crisis on Australia spin legend Shane Warne for having "influenced (Pietersen) a little bit at Hampshire".

"Far and wide the English have searched for excuses, and now they've laid the blame for the country's coaching crisis at Shane Warne's door,' the paper said before the news was confirmed.

"Pietersen and Moores are barely on speaking terms and it is clear the skipper detests his coach's methodical approach."

The Age took a line from South Africa captain Graeme Smith, claiming England have the edge for the Ashes.

Speaking after the Proteas' defeat in the third Test yesterday - before the England situation was clarified last night - Smith could not resist departing Australia with one last dig.

He said: "There are deep divisions in the England camp at the moment with Kevin Pietersen resigning as captain following his fall-out with coach Peter Moores.

"(But) I guess probably England playing at home probably gives them an advantage I would think."

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