Timeline: many lows, much controversy
November 22, 2011: Mickey Arthur, the former South Africa coach, becomes Australia's first foreign-born coach. He is given the post after its redefinition under the recommendations of the Argus review, which took place after the disastrous 2010-11 Ashes. His contract is set to run until the end of the 2015 World Cup.
December 2011: Arthur says the players should get used to rotation for reasons of balance, as it is something that will become more frequent under the new team-performance regime. All the players, he says, have to be prepared to accept the possibility: "That's a maturity that we want to try to get into the group getting down the line."
December 2011: In a dramatic finish, Australia lose the Hobart Test to New Zealand - the visitors' first victory in Australia since 1985 - to end with a 1-1 draw in Arthur's first Test series in charge.
January 2012: Australia complete their Test summer with a 4-0 drubbing of India.
January 2012: Arthur says David Warner has the potential to lead the team "in any form of the game".
April 2012: Australia win the Frank Worrell Trophy in the West Indies comfortably, 2-0.
July 2012: Australia are thumped 4-0 on their limited-overs tour of England.
August 2012: Steve Rixon, Australia's fielding mentor, takes over as head coach for the ODIs against Afghanistan and Pakistan in the UAE, to allow Arthur to focus on preparations for the World Twenty20.
October 2012: Australia lose to West Indies in the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
November-December 2012: The most anticipated Test series of the year: South Africa's tour of Australia. After dominating but having to settle for draws in the first two Tests, Australia fall to a 309-run defeat in Perth to surrender the series.
December 2012: The Perth Test against South Africa is Ricky Ponting's last. His retirement leaves Australia and Arthur with a big minus on the experience front.
January 2013: Australia whitewash the touring Sri Lankans 3-0 in the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy.
January 2013: Australia and Arthur lose another vital cog in their setup, as New Year's Test against Sri Lanka is also Michael Hussey's last.
February 2013: Australia gear up for a high-profile, demanding tour of India. Arthur talks about his plans for his batsmen to "show intent" against the Indian spinners, who were "under pressure" after losing a home Test series to England.
February-March 2013: India hand Australia a 4-0 thrashing. The poor on-field performances on tour are overshadowed by the off-field chaos, as vice-captain Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja are banned for the third Test, in Mohali, for failing to deliver a team-development assignment. Watson goes home, but it's only for the birth of his first child, and he returns for the final match. Arthur says the players' suspension was the result of "minor indiscretions that built up", and insists that the India flop is not an Ashes barometer.
April 2013: Shane Watson stands down as Australia's vice-captain across all formats, declaring that he wants to focus his attention on his own performance.
June 2013: Defending champions Australia have a woeful Champions Trophy, where they don't win a game in the group stage. Adding to the on-field woes, again, is off-field controversy: David Warner is suspended from the tournament and the Ashes' warm-ups following Australia's first game, for punching England's Joe Root in a bar-room incident after the match. Arthur then admits it would be a gamble to select Warner for the first Ashes Test, given he will not have played any competitive cricket in the preceding month.
June 24, 2013: Arthur is sacked as Australia's head coach less than three weeks before the start of the Ashes, and is replaced by Darren Lehmann.