After losing to South Africa by 177 runs nearly a fortnight ago, Australia suffered more misery on the back of another abysmal batting performance on Monday against a side they are finding impossible to beat.
Recent results are showing the Australian national side to be anything but ‘Invincible’ as their nickname might otherwise imply, and the weekend's play did nothing to suggest a change in form is on the cards.
South Africa claimed the three-Test series with victory in the second clash, courtesy of some poor batting by their opposition.
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The Proteas took the last eight wickets for only 40 runs, dismissing Australia for a measly 161 in their second innings, just 76 more than they scored in the first.
The result has left the Aussies with plenty of questions to answer ahead of next year’s Ashes, and their captain didn't hold back in his criticism of the team.
Steve Smith accused his teammates of lacking “pride in their wickets” and thinks changes will need to be made.
“It’s not working. Obviously, on the back of five losses there’s going to be a lot talked about in regards to selection and things like that,” Smith said.
“We’re not digging in enough, we’re not having the pride in our wicket… Something’s got to change and we’ve got to play a lot better than we have been if we’re going to beat any opposition around the world at the moment.”
The Baggy Green’s captain scored an unbeaten 48 in the first and 31 in the second, as fellow compatriots Usman Khawaja managed 64 and David Warner hitting for 45 in the only other notable scores.
No other batsman registered a score of more than 6 runs – for the captain of traditionally one of the most feared cricket teams in the world, understandably this wasn’t good enough.
He added: “I need players that are willing to get in the contest and get in the battle and have some pride in playing for Australia and pride for the Baggy Green. I’m quite sick of saying it.”
“I’m quite sick of saying it. We’ve lost five times in a row and for an Australian cricket team that’s humiliating and I’m embarrassed to be sitting here in this position, to be honest with you.”
South Africa are proving to be something of an unbeatable opponent for Australia, and as England performed well against a deadly India side last week, the prospect of facing such a long-standing enemy in the Ashes is undoubtedly a daunting prospect for Smith and his men.
Ahead of the inconsequential dead-rubber third Test, Australia coach Darren Lehmann has promised changes in a bid to stir something of a reversal of fortunes, but Smith has conceded there is a dearth of available talent to work with.
Smith continued: “We need guys in state cricket to really step and jump out of the pack. I don’t think there’s anyone really doing that at the moment, that’s really averaging 55-60, things like that.
“So there’s obviously going to be questions asked in all different ways.”
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