Brutal sledge exposes Aussie truth
POOR old Justin Langer.
Thrust into the daunting position of coaching a below-par Australian side mere months after the gutting ball tampering saga in South Africa, the stoic former opening batsman could be in better places than 4-0 down in an ODI series on enemy soil.
The Aussies, fielding a side without six regular one-day mainstays, were never the favourites going into the series against England, particularly with captain Steve Smith and deputy David Warner on the sidelines serving year-long bans.
Tim Paine was placed in a similar position to his new coach after surprisingly being handed the captaincy as Australia scampered to recover from the Cape Town disaster.
And with pace trio Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood - widely regarded as the world's premier seaming pack - sitting out the tour, a thrashing to the world's number one side seemed likely even before the first toss.
Veteran batsman Shaun Marsh (280 runs with two centuries) has been the highlight for Australia over the four-match horror show.
But one can only wonder what the series would look like if sandpaper-gate had been avoided.
With Australia fighting for pride alone in the fifth match at Old Trafford, spinner Adil Rashid kindly reminded Australia of days gone by.
When asked if the Aussies could have stood a chance with their regular line-up of limited overs guns, the series' leading wicket-taker slapped them with a cold fish.
"No, I don't think so," he told reporters.
"Those players were still playing in Australia - Steve Smith, Warner, Cummins, Hazlewood (and) we won 4-1 there, and here it's 4-0, so I think it's very similar."
Australia's replacement pace battery has copped an absolute beating in England, particularly at Trent Bridge, a match which saw the home side rack up a historic 481 total from its 50 overs.
Limited overs specialist Andrew Tye, who earned a whopping $1.4 million contract with IPL side Kings XI Punjab after a stellar Big Bash season, was tonked for an incredible 100 runs from his nine overs.
Despite the world-record pummelling in the field, spin veteran Nathan Lyon says the shattering experience in England will be good for Australia's bowling stocks.
"I think it's been a great learning curve and opportunity for all the bowlers," Lyon said.
"It's been great for them to learn to perform under pressure because playing in a World Cup - what I want to do, what everyone else in this squad wants to do - that's what you're going to come up against, being under pressure."
Spinner Ashton Agar admitted the team had gone through crisis meetings in their frantic effort to avoid their second 5-0 ODI whitewash in under two years.
The first came against South Africa in 2016, a year which saw Australia swept in all formats of the game for the first time since the introduction of T20 internationals.
"We have been outplayed, that's the truth," Agar said. "All we can do now is focus on us and look to improve in every area possible - batting, bowling, fielding.
"We've had the meetings - we've had really good open and honest discussions with each other, staff, players, everyone.
"We've addressed what we think we might need to work on and put that into practice tomorrow and try to get a better result.
"I don't think we feel a huge amount of pressure to prevent the whitewash. We just know we can play better."