Australia's cricketers were under fire from local media Wednesday who said the humiliating loss to India in the second Test in Mohali signalled the end of the world champions' control of the game.
Under the headline "Era of domination at an end", The Australian newspaper flayed the tourists for what it described as an "insipid 320-run loss" which follows a draw in the first Test of the four-match series.
"India has turned world cricket upside down by bullying Australia into submission," it said.
"Australia has been seriously outplayed," it continued, adding that the team had been brutally exposed without the retired greats Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
As talkback radio questioned whether the end of Australia's dominance had begun, debates Down Under pondered the depleted stocks of spin bowlers in the face of the success of India's Harbhajan Singh and debutant Amit Mishra.
Noted in the coverage was the manner of the defeat at Mohali in which some members of the ascendant Indian team confronted the Australians -- with several on-field spats between players and Zaheer Khan fined for celebrating Matthew Hayden's dismissal.
The "verbal lip directed at the Australians has made even the hard-nosed world champions question whether a line has been crossed," Sydney's Daily Telegraph said.
But ultimately, the Australians underperformed on the field and lost the mental battle, The Sydney Morning Herald said in a piece by commentator Peter Roebuck.
"Australia have lost before but it's been a long time since they were so comprehensively taken apart," it said in a front-page article.
"Everyone knew they could be beaten but not broken. No one expected the visitors to cave in or to depart with their tails hanging between their legs.
"The Australians were humbled. Ricky Ponting's team was outbatted, outbowled, outfielded, out-thought, outrun, outcaptained and outclassed."
As star paceman Brett Lee battled poor form, and Australia's spinners were unable to turn the ball away from the bat, none of the antipodean bowlers would have made it into the Indian squad, let alone team, Roebuck said.
Commentators have called for troubled allrounder Andrew Symonds to rejoin the team after he was axed from the India tour for going fishing instead of attending a compulsory team meeting during a one-day series against Bangladesh.
But if Australia is to regain its previously formidable form, it must work to bring back some of the class lost with the retirement of Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist, they said.
"It is not possible to replace great cricketers with good cricketers and retain the same standard," Roebuck wrote. "Nothing lasts forever."