SYDNEY, December 8- Australian newspapers Wednesday said the country's cricket team was in a parlous state and the coveted Ashes series all but lost after Ricky Ponting's men were smashed by England in Adelaide.
Australia were comprehensively outplayed in the second Test — losing by an innings and 71 runs Tuesday — and commentators said they saw little prospect of a reinvention that would turn their fortunes around.
"The Ashes are all but gone," Malcolm Conn wrote in The Australian.
"So too, it appears, are the last vestiges of Australia as a Test force after England’s imposing second Test victory in Adelaide."
The post-mortems were damning, admitting that Australia was unlikely to win the remaining three Tests in the series given its beaten, broken and injury-hit team.
"The Ashes? Forget it — this side would be lucky to beat Bangladesh," opined a headline in The Sydney Morning Herald, while the Sydney tabloid Daily Telegraph ran with: "Get used to it" above a photo of a joyous England team.
"Australian cricket has not been in such a parlous state for two decades," said the Daily Telegraph, which in a column described the Adelaide Test as a "massacre".
Four years ago an Australia squad boasting now retired greats Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist beat England 5-0, and commentators said selectors must make changes to the team now ranked fifth in the world — and dropping — if is to return to that success.
"However, the cupboard appears all but bare, with a constant rotation of fast bowlers and spinners bringing little joy, and promising young batsmen failing to put their hand up consistently at state level," wrote Conn.
England’s thumping win at Adelaide — in which Australia scored only 245 in their first innings and then looked on as England replied with a huge 620 for five declared — formalised England’s custody of the Ashes, Greg Baum said in The Age.
Even before Australia’s batting order collapsed on Tuesday in their second innings to be all out for 304, England’s superiority was evident in both play and attitude, he said.
From mid-way through the first Test in Brisbane — which ended in a draw — there was an ascendancy which has so far seen "the mountains of runs made by Alastair Cook and the behemoth Kevin Pietersen, and the wickets taken by James Anderson and Graeme Swann".
Andrew Strauss’s men took chances while Australia squandered theirs, he said, adding that Swann’s five-wicket bowling haul in Adelaide "was as sublime as Warne".
Australia could have saved itself on Tuesday, had it been able to hang on for three or so hours of determined batting, as by afternoon the Adelaide Oval was hit with thunder, lightning and rain which would have certainly stopped play.
"But donkey-licked Australia was helpless to resist even for 90 minutes against this newly rampant England," Baum wrote.
But he added: "If it seemed to Australia that all went England’s way, it was because England made it so."