New Delhi: After their humiliating 4-0 whitewash in the recently concluded Test series against India, the Australian team has drawn flak from their media back home. They labelled the Michael Clarke-led side as "worst" in the past 34 years and severely criticised the shot selection of the team's top order batsmen.
"It's official. Australian cricket's class of 2013 are the worst to tour India ... and the nation's worst Test outfit in 34 years. That is the macabre reputation Michael Clarke's battered troops will bring home," the Telegraph said.
Another newspaper, Herald Sun was more harsh in its write up. "They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Unless Australia's batsmen change something - starting today - they might wake up in a mental ward before the Ashes.
"The real concern ahead of the Ashes is not so much the batting averages in India, but the wider mentality that governs the decisions, and mistakes, Australia's batsmen are making," the report added.
Along with other top order batsmen of the side, the Australian sports writers came down heavily on stand-in captain Shane Watson, who could not score even a half-century on the tour. "The struggling allrounder can no longer be a selection untouchable after his form slump yesterday hit crisis point during Australia's latest batting collapse.
"...If any player should forensically analyse their form on this shambolic tour, it is Watson," wrote Telegraph.
"With Michael Clarke, he arrived as Australia's most seasoned player. He returns home as the only specialist batsman in the series not to post a fifty. Even tailenders Siddle (51 and 50) and Mitchell Starc (99) managed half-centuries on this tour.
"In the ultimate indictment, No.11 Nathan Lyon (244 balls) managed to survive more deliveries on this tour than Watson (239). Lyon (18) also finished with a superior batting average to Watson (16.5)," the critical piece added.
Continuing in the same vein, the Sydney Morning Herald pilloried Watson the most. "Watson, the captain in Delhi, has been the most guilty and there was more of the same on Sunday. His shot, rocking back and trying unsuccessfully to heave the left-armer Pragyan Ojha to the boundary, was not one out of the leadership handbook."
The Herald Sun also questioned the way Australian batsmen got themselves out. "Australia's second highest individual score in this series is 99 ... by paceman Mitchell Starc. Getting out in India is not a crime. Getting out the same way is."
"Too often on this tour Australia's top-order have come unstuck with either carbon-copy dismissals, reckless strokeplay or, worse, going against the initial plans they had in place to counter India's bowlers."
Syndey Morning Herald wrote that the only remedy for Australia's redemption seem to be overhaul of the top order. "When the dust settles from Australia's tour de farce, one subject should stand out above all else. Not ''Homeworkgate'', not the dynamic between Michael Clarke and Shane Watson, and not Mickey Arthur's Twitter account.
"...As treacherous as conditions were against the trickery of Ravindra Jadeja on Sunday, Australia's top order was culpable for yet another collapse."
The media was worried as the Ashes series is looming large against a very formidable England. "Watching the final-day massacre from his Sydney lounge-room, the injured Clarke must wonder how on earth Australia rebuilds for the Ashes," wrote Telegraph.
"..Australia's batsmen still haven't collectively clicked, largely making unforced errors that will be fatal during the Ashes," feared Herald Sun.