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Australia are once again teetering on the edge of several records, only after a thorough debacle at Lord's, nearly all of them are unsavoury. Already 0-2 down and with Old Trafford and The Oval well-known for assisting spin, Malcolm Conn in Australia's Telegraph brings to light a few foreboding statistics.
After a 4-0 defeat in India, Australia has now lost six Tests in a row for the first time since 1984. The worst losing streak is seven almost 130 years ago.
Australia has only ever been whitewashed once in England, and that was during a three-Test series back in 1886. The other large series defeats in England were 3-0 in 1977, 3-1 in 1981 and 3-1 in 1985 on tours unsettled by World Series Cricket and South African rebel tours. During all three of those series Australia did not start as badly as the current team.
Chloe Saltau of the Age paints a vivid picture of turmoil in Australian cricket, from the Argus report, the team's lacklustre performance in the Ashes and a dearth of available talent at the domestic level.
The Argus report now looks like an expensive navel-gazing exercise. Several of its key recommendations are in mothballs. The coach brought in to restore a winning culture has been sacked. The captain, Michael Clarke, is no longer a selector - a flawed concept to begin with. Australia, far from climbing back towards No. 1, is facing its sixth consecutive Test defeat - a streak not seen since the team was pummelled by the West Indies when they were kings in 1984.
In the same paper, Malcolm Knox writes that it's a concern for cricket in general if the rest of the series turns into a no-contest.
But Ashes cricket has thrived on 130 years of titanic tussles, and even when one side has been markedly stronger than the other the combat has been closer to Sharktopus than Sharknado. A week ago, these same teams played one of the tightest Test matches in history, a thriller. Those who came to Lord's basing their hopes on history will always say that sequels are never as good.
In the Independent, John Townsend writes that Australia have good reasons to feel optimistic about their spin situation, going by the initial performances of Ashton Agar and Fawad Ahmed in the tour games. Having fast-tracked Ahmed's eligibility, the time is ripe for his inclusion.
Indeed, Ahmed may be Australia's best prospect of getting back into the Ashes. He had a bowl-off with Agar at Bristol last month after the Australian selectors decided that off-spinner Nathan Lyon was not going to provide the impact required on pitches likely to be as arid as any in world cricket. Agar won the battle of Bristol but it may be that Ahmed wins the war.
In the Guardian, Vic Marks says Joe Root's performance with the ball at Lord's was encouraging enough for Cook to use him as a regular spin option. That is provided Root perseveres with his offspin.
The mechanics of spin bowling are not that difficult, compared with the demands of fast bowling. There is no need for special muscles or extreme flexibility. An ordinary Joe can make himself into a very passable bowler provided he has the right temperament. This is where we can be optimistic about Root. All the signs are that he is willing to learn, practise and use some of his undoubted powers of concentration for the most fundamental skill required by a bowler with a decent basic action: to land the damn thing on a length time and time again.
In the same paper, Barney Ronay wonders if the Ashes has lost a bit of its specialty this time, considering it has been spread over 10 Tests and contested between two mismatched teams.
Just how special is it out there? This is the question the TV interviewers seem intent on asking every Ashes interviewee, every star of the day, in fact pretty much anybody they can muscle in behind a mic. And of course it is only natural, the ramping-up of the history angle, that muscular breadth of scale, the tearfully invoked sense of Ashes tradition, if only because at the centre of all this there is already a notable absence of competitive tension, not to mention at times some pretty ordinary cricket being played.
Two Tests into the back-to-back series it is starting to look like what it is: a decent team and a poor team playing each other 10 times in a row for no clear reason beyond their own grand and illustrious shared history.
In The Hindu, Greg Chappell states that the recent events within the Australian team reflect a bold attitude and the decision may have helped stem a decline in team attitudes.
One can argue that things should have been done differently, in days gone by it would have been handled man to man over a beer, but the world has changed so one has to assume that previous warnings or exhortations went unheeded. In that case the only recourse was to use selection as the blunt instrument to get the message across.
Thirty-two years ago, an Australian captain asked his brother to bowl an underam delivery to stop New Zealand from scoring a six off the last ball. In Mid Day, Clayton Murzello recollects the win-at-all-costs attitude of previous Australian teams and says the current side places more emphasis on discipline.
The discipline aspect is vital too, but Australia have not given themselves the best chance to win. Michael Clarke ought to realise that the last time Australia won a Test in India was when his career was just three Test matches old. He will play his 92nd today in Mohali.
In the Guardian, Mike Selvey analyses England's problems at the start of an overseas series and suggests they filter out any Ashes-related talk ahead of the second Test against New Zealand.
One also senses that the tour is still widely seen only as an hors d'oeuvre for the main Ashes course to come.
Away from the team the talk surrounding it is incessant, be it ticket sales or what Australia's performance in India means for those series, or who has the greater depth of pace bowling, and much of it must filter down to all involved with the England team. It is unavoidable and they would not be human if they did not cast an eye to the excitement ahead. But to succeed as a player you have to live in the moment.
Every so often we get a glimpse of how Don Bradman batted and now the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia has released previously unseen footage of "The Don" playing on a privately organised tour of Canada in 1932.
The film, which you can watch a segment of courtesy of the Daily Telegraph, shows Bradman in action against an All-Toronto side. During the match in question, he made 52 (after Toronto had been dismissed for 80) but a title card informs the viewer that he went on to break the Canadian record by scoring 260 against Western Ontario. The footage is thought to be the only in existence showing Bradman in action outside Australia or the United Kingdom, the two countries where he made all of his 52 Test appearances.
The Toronto leg was part of the 51-match "Goodwill Tour" of north America, which also served in part as the recently married Bradman's honeymoon. However, while Bradman would lead his "Invicibles" around England 16 years later, on this trip the Australians were beaten - Vancouver the team to blemish their record.
No cricketer can have gone to more extraordinary lengths to secure an India visa for the IPL than Chennai's George Bailey. Following the end of Australia's Twenty20 series against the West Indies, Bailey flew all the way from Barbados to the South American nation of Suriname in search of his travel documents - having been given some odd advice that it could not be obtained in the nearby Caribbean island of Trinidad as expected.
Having picked up his visa in the capital, Paramaribo, Bailey and his driver set off for the airport to fly back to Barbados. It soon became clear they were no chance of making the flight time, at which point Bailey's driver announced that he knew the pilot and would call him. Asked to delay the flight until the car arrived, the pilot happily obliged, but when Bailey reached the plane, some time after it was due to depart, the pilot insisted on having his photo taken with Bailey before departing. Bailey then turned up on day two of Australia's tour match against the WICB President's XI at the Three Ws Oval to relay his traveller's tale.