Australia’s “overpaid prima donna” cricketers were shamed by their humbling first Test defeat to Bangladesh, Australian media said Thursday, while saluting the historic achievement.
Lowly Bangladesh claimed their first-ever Test win over one-time power Australia and only their 10th in 101 Tests against all nations, beating Steve Smith’s men by 20 runs on the fourth day in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Australia are currently ranked fourth to Bangladesh’s ninth in the ICC Test rankings.
While applauding Bangladesh’s feat, Australia’s media focused on the huge financial disparity between the two sides.
“What happened in Dhaka was on one hand wonderful for world cricket and on the other embarrassing for a pack of overpaid prima donnas,” the Melbourne Herald-Sun thundered.
“Australia, if you’re going to go strike over their pay packets, you want to make sure you back it up in the field of play. Losing to Bangladesh is hardly doing that.”
Australia left for the Bangladesh tour after resolving a long and acrimonious pay row, in which the players walked away the winners with a five-year agreement worth an estimated Aus$500 million (US$396 million).
The Australian newspaper said Smith’s men were “humiliated” in an “inglorious outing” by players earning far inferior salaries.
“The hapless 11 who became the first Australian team to lose a Test to Bangladesh will be paid an average of Aus$1.36 million from Cricket Australia this financial year, or about Aus$26,000 a week,” it said.
“The team that humiliated them on a turning pitch are paid average salaries of just Aus$26,136, or about Aus$500 a week.”
The Australian’s cricket writer Peter Lalor added: “Australia can’t win in Asia anymore. We play suboptimal cricket on the subcontinent. Our batsmen have developed an almost fatal dust allergy.”
Former Australia Test captain Ian Chappell said the defeat again confirmed how much the country’s batting was dependent on Smith or David Warner.
“As soon as they were out the usual collapse (happened) and it was a terrific win for Bangladesh,” he said.
Another former captain Michael Clarke tweeted: “Congratulations Bangladesh, didn’t think I would be writing this tweet but you need to give credit where credit is due.”
Looking ahead to the showpiece Ashes series with England at home later this year, Fairfax Media’s Greg Baum said it was ironic that at the same time Australia were losing, England fell to the West Indies in the 2nd Test at Headingley.
“The least consequence was that Australians forfeited the high moral ground before they even had fully staked it out,” he said.