'Glory days are back', say Aussie media
Australia's cricket coach Darren Lehmann (L) celebrates with Shane Watson after winning back urn from England on the fifth day of their third Ashes Test match, in Perth, on December 17, 2013
The triumph was given prominent coverage, with the Sydney Daily Telegraph screaming "No mercy for the dismal Poms" while lavishing praise on Michael Clarke. Cricket writer Malcolm Conn called it the skipper's finest hour.
"To pick up a cobbled-together side from the wreckage of poor Indian and England tours and reclaim the Ashes in such emphatic fashion is one of the great achievements in Australian cricket," he said, after the home side took an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the series.
"Clarke and coach Darren Lehmann have not built a side with Australia's next generation of stars, as Allan Border and coach Bob Simpson did through the late 80s to so surprisingly win the 1987 World Cup and 1989 Ashes.
"Instead, the current captain and coach have dragged a bunch of ageing hard heads out of the Last Chance saloon and given them an unexpected shot at glory."
An ageing team finally coming good was a theme the Sydney Morning Herald also ran with, while simply stating "It's ours" on its front page.
"Seldom can it be confidently stated that one moment is a highpoint in a sportsman's career, but for a lot of this Australian team, nothing will match it because there is so little time left," wrote Malcolm Knox.
He pointed to Chris Rogers and Brad Haddin, who are both 36, while Ryan Harris is 34.
"Shane Watson, George Bailey, Mitchell Johnson and Clarke all have, as cricketers, a lot more yesterdays than tomorrows. They are a mature team with only the present to play for," he added, while rejoicing in their emphatic defeat of England.
"The overwhelming margin of their victories against a team that tormented them just a few months ago is one of those examples of why it's called cricket, wonderful cricket -- wonderful in both senses: excellent and marvellous."
Even the usually staid Australian Financial Review devoted nearly two pages to the story, proclaiming the "Glory days are back".
The Australian media largely focused on their own team, leaving criticism of the hapless English to their British counterparts, summed up by England veteran Geoff Boycott, who said Alastair Cook's men had "cocked it up big time".
The Australian waded into the debate, asking in a headline if "Weary Captain Cook could go down with his rudderless ship".
"Cook knows the recriminations that await him," wrote the daily's Wayne Smith.
"If he needed a preview of the stinging vitriol to come, he only had to glance at the English media yesterday.
"Even before the start of play... the raging debate was whether Cook could, or even should, survive as captain."
He added that "the inescapable evidence is that England is a team in decline".
"One would be tempted to say terminal decline were it not for the fight displayed yesterday by Ben Stokes and in recent times by Joe Root and Michael Carberry."
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