Vol. 5 Num 926 Sat. January 06, 2007  

Abject, pitiful England

British newspapers hailed Australia's all-conquering cricketers and heaped scorn on England after the tourists' crushing 5-0 Ashes defeat on Friday.

Australia completed their first Ashes series whitewash in 86 years when they cruised to victory on the fourth day of the final test at Sydney Cricket Ground.

"Abject England roll over in whitewash" headlined the Guardian, describing how Australian batsmen Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden "took just one ball shy of 11 overs to complete England's biggest humiliation in 86 years."

"Humbled by the history men" trumpeted the Daily Mail, adding another headline: "Pitiful collapse sums it all up."

Underlining Australia's superiority, the paper said, "The ease of the final kill emphasised their total domination of (the) series..."

Recalling England's 2005 Ashes triumph, it added: "No more bus rides through central London, just the cold comfort of knowing there could be more beatings to come in the one-day series against what is still a mighty Australian outfit."

Newspaper websites added to the national hand-wringing, with headlines at The Sun ranging from "5-0 England flops whitewashed" to "The worst team in 86 years".

"Andy Flintoff's hapless side had their noses rubbed into the dirt one final time," the website said.

Fellow tabloid the Daily Mirror titled: "Whitewash -- England humiliated as clinical Aussies wrap up 5-0 sweep."

The Times cricket correspondent Christopher Martin-Jenkins wrote: "Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and the sheer red-blooded aggression of Australian cricket that they epitomise proved all too much for England again yesterday (on Friday)."

He added: "There has been an almost religious zeal in the way that Ricky Ponting and his men have hunted down only the ninth 5-0 whitewash in Test history.

"Nothing else, it seems, will satisfy their wish to avenge their 2005 defeat."

The Daily Telegraph began its coverage with a reference to England's last 5-0 Ashes drubbing.

"The previous occasion such an ignominy occurred was on the 1920/21 tour captained by JWHT Douglas, though that side were depleted by the First World War," it said.

"This team had no such excuse and were simply ill prepared for a potent and highly motivated foe."

In an accompanying article, Simon Hughes underlined Australia's will to win and queried England's tactics, writing: "I doubt if there has ever been a group of cricketers so determined to give their opponents absolutely nothing.

"It would be depressing if it wasn't so utterly compelling.

"England have slowly but surely been bled to death. If only some of the wounds hadn't been self-inflicted."