MELBOURNE: "Was it murder or suicide in Hyderabad yesterday?", the Australian media asked today in the wake of their team's humiliating defeat at the hands of India.
The team's capitulation to India's spinners in the second Test was described as "the Hyderabad horror show" on a "dark day" for Australian cricket.
"It was, without doubt, a crime scene and one that Australian cricket fans should not have had to witness. The saddest thing about yesterday's capitulation was that the Australians weren't mugged - this was an act of self-harm," the 'Australian' wrote.
The paper said that none of the batsmen except captain Michael Clarke looked to take the fight into the Indian camp.
"Suicide cults have displayed more resolve than the procession of batsmen who walked to the middle and volunteered to drink the cordial yesterday.
"..The captain owns the two highest scores of this series by an Australian (130 and 91) and posted both of them in the critical first innings when the running needed to be made.
"Unfortunately his pale warriors don't have the legs to go with their skipper. Some join him for a couple of kilometres here or there, but none can go the distance. Nor do any seem intent on forming a partnership without him."
The critical write-up added that if Clarke wept when Ricky Ponting left the team, he must have felt a "sense of dread when Michael Hussey followed at summer's end".
Another newspaper 'Herald Sun' writes, "THIS is not the crisis Australian cricket was meant to have. Not with the Ashes 16 weeks away. In a dark day for Australian cricket, the Hyderabad horror show was over by lunch on day four."
It added that Rajiv Gandhi Stadium resembled a "cricketing abattoir" yesterday as a slew of "Australian batsmen batted like meandering Brown's cows before meeting a swift 237-minute execution".
A report in the Sudney Morning Herald said the time has for Clarke to take some tough decisions.
"... after consecutive drubbings in India? It is time for Clarke to get his hands dirty. To move out of the comfort zone. Choose your cliche. Until now, we have indulged a fantasy in which Australia would find four batsmen who could hold up an end until Clarke had time to fasten the pads. Thus, Clarke's tardy arrival would be demoralising for a beleaguered opposition. That fantasy has exploded like the bowlers' foot marks at Roland Chennai.
"Clarke has passed most reasonable tests of leadership. Two challenges remain. The captain must do more to entertain, engage and select players who are not like-minded. And he must fix bayonet, move up to three or four and lead the charge. For the religious minded, Clarke must suffer for the sins of his fellow batsmen."