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SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia's thrashing in the second Ashes Test by England sealed the nation's worst losing streak in 30 years and was greeted with resignation by Australian media on Monday.
Ashes-holders England humiliated their arch-rivals by 347 runs at 'the home of cricket' Lord's on Sunday, with over a day left, to take a 2-0 lead and strengthen their grip on the urn.
Broadsheet newspaper The Australian called it: "A shabby and public humbling at Lord's."
In an opinion piece, the newspaper's cricket writer Gideon Haigh said Usman Khawaja's 54 was the only saving grace by the team's underperforming batsmen, with the top order again failing to deliver sufficient runs.
"Otherwise, events were another stark repudiation of the prevailing Cricket Australia wisdom that fortunes can be revived simply by appointing as coach a wily old stager who tells everyone to go express themselves," he said.
"Mickey Arthur has complained that his dismissal as coach damaged his reputation. This Test has arguably enhanced it."
Arthur was controversially sacked before the series began in favour of Darren Lehmann, with explosive claims of divisions within the Australian team leaked to the media ahead of the second Test.
He is now suing Cricket Australia for Aus$4 million, claiming his reputation has been badly damaged.
Australia was bowled out for 128 in the first innings and 235 in the second with the defeat meaning that following a 4-0 rout in India earlier this year they have lost six Tests in a row for the first time since 1984.
Australia has only once bounced back from a two-nil deficit to win a five-Test Ashes series -- in 1936-7 when Donald Bradman plundered 810 runs in the series.
"It would be an astonishing feat for this Australian team, which has now lost six Tests in a row, to emulate such an achievement, given the depths to which it has sunk," the Sydney Morning Herald's cricket writer Chloe Saltau said.
"Australia has 11 days to regroup in mind and body before the third Test at Old Trafford. But the gulf in class is greater than anyone imagined when the Australians embarked on this Ashes tour."
The Sydney Daily Telegraph said there appeared to be little hope on the horizon.
"Right now there appear few solutions on how Australia can drag itself back into the series to prevent a 5-0 whitewash," the newspaper said.
"One of the biggest concerns has to be Shane Watson. For the third time in four innings this series he was caught plumb in front, plodding his front leg straight down the pitch to Jimmy Anderson."
Watson's dismissal for 20 was his 10th leg before in 18 innings against England.
Captain Michael Clarke remained confident Australia can bounce back, but admitted to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that their top-order batting failures were unacceptable.
"It doesn't matter who you play against, if you're all out for 125 on a very good batting wicket in your first innings, you're not going to win too many Test matches," he said.
Meanwhile, British newspapers relished England's comprehensive thrashing of Australia, gleefully confident that the hosts will go on to retain the Ashes.
Many commentators noted that only once in Ashes history has a team fought back from such a position to win a series
"It does not get much more comprehensive than this," said the Daily Mail, declaring that "it is already clear the Ashes are assuredly staying put".
"England's superior quality has told at Lord's after an indifferent first day and there would appear to be no way back for Australia now, not when they are such a shambles both on and off the field," the newspaper added.
"Lord's of the manor" headlined The Sun, while the Daily Mirror said the Australians suffered "humiliation. There is no other word for it".
All the papers paid homage to Joe Root, the 22-year-old opening batsman who made 180 in England's second innings 347 before taking two wickets.
"There is a gulf in class that was epitomised by Root's collection of the man-of-the-match award in just his eighth Test for a majestic hundred, but such is his confidence right now he bowled as if he were picked just for that," the Mirror said.
Simon Barnes in The Times declined to consider whether Australia were in long-term trouble.
"Just as you don't spoil Christmas by asking how much your new trike cost, so you don't spoil an England Ashes victory by dwelling on Australian shortcomings," he wrote.