Ricky Ponting's once-mighty Australian cricket team face the fight of their lives to avoid a series capitulation in India, local press said Friday.
Facing a massive 613 first innings total to bat down, Australian media said it would take a huge effort for the team to save the Delhi Test and keep the series alive leading up to Nagpur, where the fourth and final Test will be played next week.
Gautam Gambhir with a career-best 206 and Venkatsai Laxman with an unbeaten 200 put India in complete control after the second day of the third Test on Thursday.
Gloom is descending here over the one-sided contest with the Australians already trailing 1-0 in the four-Test series after a record 320-run defeat in the second Mohali Test.
The massive first innings score was the biggest total conceded by Australia since India accumulated 705 in Sydney in 2004, where former skipper Steve Waugh helped salvage a draw in his farewell Test.
"Australia will need to conjure a supreme batting effort if the third Test - and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy - is to be saved," The Daily Telegraph said.
"Having failed with the ball to trouble India through 161 overs and almost two draining days in the field, the tourists must now rely on their batting kingpins to resuscitate a campaign barely registering a pulse."
The Telegraph said India have long claimed they have been the only team able to consistently match the world champions in the past decade.
"That point was strengthened when the hosts posted a total in excess of 500 against Australia for the seventh time in this period. Only two other nations had exceeded 500 against Australia in this time," it said.
The Australian newspaper said such has been India's control in the first two days of the Delhi Test that it is the first time in 47 Tests under Ponting's captaincy that Australia has conceded 600.
"It has happened just 15 times in the 1890 Tests Australia has played since 1877, although it may be some consolation to Ponting that India scored 7-705 declared against a team lead by his predecessor Steve Waugh less than five years ago," the newspaper said.
The Sydney Morning Herald's cricket columnist Peter Roebuck criticised Australia's limp bowling attack.
"Australia's bowling lacks mustard. It is not merely a matter of bulging tallies or even the domination of a formidable batting order. Rather it is the lack of menace from the leather-flingers," he said.
"They seemed to be bowling by rote, following a plan, obeying the instructions of a computer.
"The danger with computer analysis is that it can turn a bowler into an automaton.... the problem with bowlers obeying the directions of analysts is that they focus on following a mathematical strategy devised beforehand and not their wits."