Melbourne: With England looking set to retain the Ashes with victory in the fourth Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), there was an air of resignation in the Australian media on Tuesday.
Home skipper Ricky Ponting`s protracted row with umpire Aleem Dar on Monday`s second day, for which he was fined 40 percent of his match fee, also drew considerable comment:
"Better than anything else, though, the incident suggested the home captain is at his wits` end. In that state of mind a small thing can become a big thing. Ponting is a proud man whose team has been taken apart. The end is nigh for Australia and quite possibly its mostly measured leader."
Peter Roebuck, Sydney Morning Herald
"For a while in the morning, rallied by Peter Siddle, the Australians held their heads up, but knew they could only ameliorate the embarrassment, not commute the defeat. That is two long days away. Only in cricket can humiliation be so drawn out; it is in the nature of the game."
Greg Baum, The Age.
"You have to have the basics and good foundation that you know will hold up under pressure and right now I don`t think some have done the hard work."
"They are opening their front leg up and playing a lot of shots front-on to the bowler. I think in a tough situation you have to be side on, leave the ball and play with soft hands and they are not really doing it."
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh on Australia`s batsmen, the Cricket Show.
"Ricky Ponting and Australia`s besieged top-order batsmen have one last chance to salvage pride."
"The Test and urn have been relinquished, but Australia`s almost impossible rescue mission at the MCG carries an opportunity to salvage much-needed respect from the train wreck otherwise known as the Boxing Day Test."
Will Swanton, the Herald Sun
"Ricky has been phenomenal the way he has played in that hot spot (number three). As captain occasionally you are going to be conceding lots of runs, particularly with the side we`ve got now. And then you have got to come off the field and put the pads on. He just gets no respite."
"I personally think at 36 he has done the hard yards so I think someone else should stick the hand up for that one."
"Most of the other good players around the globe that are reaching that sort of age -- look at (Sachin) Tendulkar he bats four or five. I just reckon he would be better served down the list."
Former Australia captain Allan Border, The Australian