Melbourne, Nov 12: Media lambasted "sore and sorry" Australian cricket team while predicting that uncertainty and apprehension was set to mark its future after the below-par outing of India which brought to an end its 'invincible' era.
"Welcome to the combustible new world of Australian cricket, an era set to be marked by uncertainty, apprehension and an increasing number of draws and defeats," said a report in the 'Daily Telegraph'.
"Australia will this week begin preparations for the new home season with a captain under fire, a sick vice-captain and spearhead, out of form players and opponents believing its days as cricket's No. 1 nation are all but over," it added.
Newspaper headlines like -- 'Lay off Ponting...for now', 'How cricket's top dogs lost their bark', 'Australia goes into soul searching mode' -- expressed their frustration at the national team's humiliating defeat in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
"Confirmation that the once-mighty Australia are now just another Test team arrived right on tea on the final day of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series," said the 'Australian Associated Press'.
"When last man Mitchell Johnson was given out lbw padding up to Harbhajan Singh, India had won the match by 172 runs and the Trophy by two Tests to nil.
"It left the Australians sore and sorry after seven weeks in the subcontinent where they've expended every effort - yet still fallen a long way short of the home side," it added.
Leading newspaper 'The Australian' described India as the "bogey" team for Ponting and his men.
"Ponting remains Australia's second-most successful skipper behind Steve Waugh, but clearly India are his bogey team, accounting for four of his six Test losses in his 48 at the helm," 'The Australian' wrote.
"...Questions will also be asked about a tour where several senior players failed to provide the results expected of them," it added.
'The Sydney Morning Herald' hinted that Ponting's performance would be scrutinised further.
"It remains to be seen if Ricky Ponting returns from India with vultures circling, but he has been there before. It was not a good look and seemed to indicate that here was a man not coping well with the pressure."
The paper praised India for the win but also lashed out at its tactics under title 'A victory deserved, but its manner left a lot to be desired'.
"India were superior in almost every position, and their best players were also the youngest. India field a varied attack including an impressive speedster, a canny left-armer, an inviting leggie and a combative finger spinner.
"The batting was led by two dashers and the middle order retained most of its glory. The hosts were also mentally stronger. Australia were outplayed.
"If the victory was deserved, though, the manner of its final attainment left much to be desired. Certainly the cynical proceedings seen over the past few days showed Test cricket in the worst possible light," it wrote.
"Admittedly, it was the closing stages of a tense, tight and testy tussle between weary champions and desperate challengers. A pitiless struggle was to be expected. Indeed it was to be craved. No quarter is asked or given in Test cricket. It's not a place for the faint of heart," said the SMH report.
"But India stooped to conquer," it said referring to its bowling tactics.
Another report in 'the Australian', however, sympathised with Ponting.
"India is a difficult cricket tour. The Australians were beaten there in 2001 and that was with Warne, Gilchrist, McGrath, Langer and the like. That tour was lost because Steve Waugh enforced a follow on allowing the Indians back into the Calcutta Test.
"Australia won its first series in decades there in 2004 with the side at its strongest, but only just.
"Everybody makes mistakes in the heat. The important thing is to learn from them ... perhaps it is best if everybody waits to hear what was going through Ponting's mind yesterday before getting too carried away."