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How the mighty Australians have fallen

The criticism that the Australian cricket team faces these days is unusual.

We have never heard of past players or even the Australian public for that matter criticising their cricket team before.

But with several embarrassing defeats in all forms of the game, and Sri Lanka making a mockery of the once invincible side at the MCG with a record ninth wicket stand to win recently, the bubble seems to have finally burst.

The following is part of a letter written by an Australian citizen to The Australian:

Maybe it’s the ridiculous tattoos, the peroxided hair or waxed bodies of some of the players, the incessant sledging or the bickering of their girlfriends and, on occasion, mothers. It’s hard to tell, but I took great delight in Sri Lanka’s miracle one-day win at the MCG on Wednesday night ("Aussies discover new way to lose", 4/11).

Maybe support for Australian cricket teams is a generational thing.

Peter Ward, Thebarton, SA

In the subcontinent, we always were under the impression that criticism directed at the teams when they don’t do as well was a subcontinental issue, but as you can see it is not.

Oh! How the mighty have fallen!

On the same Australian paper, on another article you witness players rushing to defend stand in skipper Michael Clarke.

AS Australia continues to slide further into the mire with another embarrassing loss, senior players insist acting captain Michael Clarke is not going the same way.

The once-mighty national side has now lost six matches in succession in all forms of the game going back five months and reports yesterday claimed the knives were out for Clarke.

He was in charge at the MCG on Wednesday night when Sri Lanka recovered from 8-107 to chase down 240 just days after Clarke led a depleted side to Australia’s first Twenty20 loss on home soil.

This comes after rumours of grumblings about Clarke on last month’s Indian tour that players have privately dismissed in recent weeks and publicly backhanded yesterday.

Australia are not the side they once were, but even with the skilled group of players they possess, they can’t put an end to the defeats. Just shows how much of a mental game cricket is.

Sri Lanka are on the verge of handing Ponting and Australia their first series defeat against Sri Lanka at home. Things can take an ugly turn if that happens and even the once high and mighty Cricket Australia will be brought to its knees. They are already struggling with the lack of ticket sales thanks to the Australian public tuning off this woeful Australian XI.

Sri Lankans have a long standing gripe with the Australian cricket establishment. They turned a blind eye to the taunts Muralitharan received for a number of years, and at times even appeared to encourage it. Ross Emerson came out and admitted that he too was asked to no ball Muralitharan by a Cricket Australia official. Then, let’s not forget the racist, foul mouthed sledging the meeky cricketers from Sri Lanka were subjected to for more than a decade. Ask Arjuna Ranatunga and he will tell you that Warne’s wickets came thanks to his verbal barrage and not his skill as a leg spinner.

So, for me, and others like me, if Sri Lanka do manage to defeat the Aussies at the SCG on Friday. Victory will be sweeter than usual.

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