Perth: India and South Africa are in the race to unseat Australia as the world's number one cricket team, commentators said on Monday after the Proteas had walloped the Aussies by successfully chasing 414 runs to win the first Test here on Sunday.
The Australian media put Ricky Ponting and his team on the mat by calling some of the key players "over-rated, lacking form or too arrogant for their own good."
Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell took a look at the credentials of two of Australia's nearest rivals and said that in the race to unseat the Kangaroos "there are differences that favour India over South Africa".
He went on to say that India has a well-balanced attack that has experienced a good deal of success against Australia, while South Africa's pace attack has still only displayed the potential to rattle Ponting and Co.
Chappell said another big difference was the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
"Dhoni is a good aggressive captain who challenges the Australians, while Graeme Smith relies on a conservative approach rah-rah speeches."
"South Africa is a very determined team and they field as though their life depends on it but they play a conservative brand of cricket that was never going to beat the Australia of old. This is a lesson India learned a while ago and they are even better equipped for toe-to-toe combat with Australia now that Dhoni has ascended to the Test captaincy," he said.
Chappell said it was creditable for India to beat Australia when they were in their prime. "In India's favour, they challenged and beat Australia when they were in their prime, while South Africa is challenging Ponting's ageing and wounded team.
"India has displayed the nerve and skill to win matches against Australia on their turf and in the most daunting of venues, the WACA. Now South Africa has done the same. The race is on to dethrone Australia," he said.
The media Down Under said the Australian cricketing empire was crumbling and the Perth defeat was a grim prelude to the days of uncertainty that await the once all-conquering world champions.
The media lambasted senior players like Matthew Hayden and Brett Lee for failing to raise their games as Australia failed to defend a mammoth 413 in the Perth Test, which the South Africans won with six wickets in hand.
"The Proteas' famous win to chase down 414 in Perth - the second highest successful chase in cricket history - erased the mental demons from repeated post-apartheid failures in Australia," said 'The Daily Telegraph'.