Aus media mourns 'an empire crumbling'

The media mourned the 'crumbling of an empire' with Australia on the verge of losing their first home series loss since 1992-93.

updated: December 29, 2008 17:49 IST
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The media here mourned the 'crumbling of an empire' with Australia on the verge of losing the second Test against South Africa here and their first home series loss since 1992-93.

The media asked the selectors to make wholesale changes in the team for the third and final Test starting in Sydney on January 3 and said if they don't do that they should also be sacked.

Headlined 'Day that shook the world champs as Ricky Ponting's empire crumbles', 'The Australian' wrote, "Not even Ricky Ponting's tragic heroics can avoid the reality that if the selectors do not make wholesale changes for the last Test in Sydney then they, too, should be sacked."

The 'Sydney Morning Herald' echoed the sad reality of Australia's decline but sympathised with Ponting.

"An empire is crumbling around Ricky Ponting, who in agonising circumstances stands 153 runs away from becoming the first Australian captain in 16 years to preside over a series defeat on home soil," it said.

"The handover, when it came, was almost poetic. Captain Ricky Ponting had played an innings that amounted to a lone last stand against the usurpers from South Africa and the march of time," 'The Age' wrote under headline 'Winds of change at MCG'.

"All good things come to an end, but the end nonetheless often still comes as a shock. This was true of Ponting's innings and Australia's, metaphorically a long and good one, both suddenly over. Now Australia faces the quandaries of mere mortals. Who will replace Lee? What to do about Symonds, even Hussey and, of course, Hayden?" it added.

The 'Daily Telegraph' felt that signs of bickering have emerged in the Australian team with the imminent passing of the baton to other contenders.

"One of the untold stories of this amazing Test series is that Australian players may be starting to turn against themselves. It is easy to be best mates when your side is so dominant that it destroys every opposition it confronts for almost two decades.

"What is much harder is to cling to the deck of the Titanic when the big ship is sinking and some of your mates are jumping into lifeboats," the newspaper said referring to questions raised by Clarke on some of Ponting's tactics.

"There have been some signs that all is not well between Australian teammates and there is no doubt that there are plenty of superstar egos out of joint." it said.

'Herald Sun', however, felt Ponting should be persisted with. Citing example of Allan Border's early reign as captain, it said Ponting too is a grafter who doesn't like losing.