Melbourne (PTI): Eminent cricket writer Peter Roebuck feels Australia's downfall started with the Four-Test series against India in Down Under, where the visitors played some scintillating cricket to challenge Australia's supremacy.
"Thanks to abysmal umpiring, India lost that match (Sydney) and almost went home. Happily tempers cooled. The Indians had the last laugh, winning in Perth, taking the one-day series and hammering the Australians on subcontinent soil. Along the way, they played some scintillating cricket. It is a new country whose players nowadays emerge from the same tough back streets that produced Ponting and company," Roebuck said.
"Among the cricketing nations Australia never had a colonial mindset, or played the game by English rules. Quite the opposite. It took a long time but eventually India embraced the same emancipation. They did not add to their charms but it did make them harder to beat," Roebuck wrote in his column in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Roebuck felt Australia have not beaten a strong side since the controversial Sydney Test.
"The Australians were subdued but Virender Sehwag was back and Matthew Hayden was missing. Hayden's lean spells have coincided with Australia's bad trots. Cause or effect? It is quite something to field an opening batsman capable of intimidating new-ball bowlers.
"After Sydney, though, the senior players fell back. Andrew Symonds became distracted, Brett Lee lost form, Hayden endured injuries and the team did not recover its rhythm. In hindsight Sydney can be understood only as the last desperate struggle of a falling champion."