Since 2000, the Australian Cricket Team has dominated International cricket. In the 21st century, the side has managed to win the ICC Cricket World Cup three times (2003, 2007 and 2015) and also was able to hold the number one world ranking in test cricket from 2003 to 2009. During this era, some of Australia’s greatest cricketers have represented the country including the likes of Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne amongst many others, in what has been an incredibly successful period of time. However, during the 21st century, there has also been some less successful squads who have lacked the vast variety of talent displayed in the teams of the early 2000’s, and have therefore slumped to some of the country’s most disappointing and embarrassing losses. Here are five of the worst Australian cricket teams since 2000, based on the results of the respective series that they competed in.
Border-Gavaskar Trophy (Australia in India) 2008/09– 2-0 loss to India
Ricky Ponting (C)
Brad Haddin (WK)
Other squad members: Stuart Clark, Doug Bollinger, Phil Jaques, Shaun Marsh, Cameron White and Peter Siddle.
India has not been a happy hunting ground for Australia in the 21st century so far. The last time they won a series on the subcontinent was all the way back in 2004. The 2008/09 team made no significant gain in breaking this trend, falling 2-0 to a side who they were able to defeat just a few months prior in Australia.
After drawing the first test, Australia was humiliated by 320 runs in the second test, a defeat that was to be their biggest loss to India in history. Australia would also lose the fourth test by 172 runs, having been significantly outplayed in the series by an Indian side that had simply outplayed them. The series marked the beginning of the decline in Australian cricket, a changing-of-the-guard following the “glory years” of the early 2000’s that culminated in the 5-0 whitewash of England in the 2006/07 Ashes.
The Australian bowling lineup, once headed by the likes of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, paled in comparison to that of India’s Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. Spearhead Brett Lee managed just eight wickets in 148 overs, with Shane Watson being the only bowler to average under 40.
Without Adam Gilchrist, Justin Langer and Andrew Symonds in the lineup, Australia’s batting also faltered- they only passed 400 twice and were bowled all out six times in the series. Mike Hussey was the only Australian batsman to feature in the top five runscorers of the series, signifying the beginning of a “recession” in Australian cricket.
The Ashes (England in Australia) 2010/11 – 3-1 loss to England
Ricky Ponting (C)
Brad Haddin (WK)
Other squad members: Simon Katich, Marcus North, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson, Nathan Hauritz, Xavier Doherty and Doug Bollinger.
The last time England had toured Australia, it had ended disastrously. Defending The Ashes post their famous victory in 2005, they were embarrassed by an ageing Australian side that had thrashed them 5-0. However, it would be a different story in the 2010/11 series, with the English turning the tables to take an emphatic 3-1 series win, retaining The Ashes in Australia for the first time in 24 years. Australia continued it’s fall from grace from the highs of the 2006/07 victory, with. collapsing to arguably one of their most disappointing series losses in history.
Just three players remained from the triumphant 2006/07 team for Australia- Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, signifying the dramatic change of players and ultimately fortunes for the Australian team in the three years since their famous victory, a trend which would continue in the 2010/11 Ashes.
Of the three tests Australia would lose in the series, all would be by an innings. At Adelaide in the 2nd test, it was an Innings and 71 runs, with Kevin Pietersen destroying the Australians with a magnificent 227. The Australians, however, did manage to turn the tables in Perth, taking a 287 run victory. However, the losses would keep piling up after that, at the MCG the Australians would be skittled for 98 inside the first few hours of play on Day 1, its lowest first-innings ever in a Melbourne Test. England would eventually regain The Ashes by an innings and 157 runs, inflicting one of Australia’s heaviest losses. England would cap off their triumphant series win by taking the Sydney test by an innings and 83 runs, handing captain Ricky Ponting his third Ashes loss as captain. Ponting averaged just 16.14 runs across the series, the lowest average by an Australian captain in an Ashes series in Australia since Brian Booth in 1965/66.
The Ashes (Australia in England ) 2013– 3-0 loss to England
Michael Clarke (C)
Brad Haddin (WK)
Other squad members: Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, James Pattinson and Jackson Bird
Australia would continue it’s lean period, losing their third consecutive Ashes series. It was the first time since 1977 that Australia had lost an Ashes series without winning a single Test, although they came close in the third test, only to be soured by poor weather.
Going into the series the side was labelled “the worst ever touring side” Australia had ever sent to England, and the team struggled to show otherwise, with Australia’s batting crumbled throughout the series. In the 1st Test debutant Ashton Agar, coming in at number 11 with the score at 9/117 saved Australia from despair with a plucky 98 to keep Australia in the game, showing some promise only to lose agonisingly by 14 runs. Agar, however, couldn’t turn things around in the second test at Lords, being rolled for 128 and 135 by an English bowling lineup lead by Graeme Swann, who claimed nine wickets in the match. Australia would go down by 347 runs, having made their lowest score at Lords since 1968.
England very nearly made the series 4-0, needing just 21 runs from four overs with six wickets in hand to win the final test at The Oval.
Australia would, however, be able to turn around their lack of success later in the year thanks to Mitchell Johnson’s brilliance in the 2013/14 Ashes Seris, reclaiming Australia the urn with a 5-0 series win.
Australia in England ODI Series 2018– 5-0 loss to England
Tim Paine (C) (WK)
Other squad members: Alex Carey, Nathan Lyon, Kane Richardson and Michael Neser
Australia also suffered their worst ever defeat in terms of runs on this tour, losing by 242 runs in the game at Trent Bridge, the same match where England managed to score the highest ever ODI score of 6/461. England’s Alex Hales and Johnny Bairstow would both finish with centuries, while Australia managed a century of its own, with paceman Andrew Tye conceding 100 runs from his nine overs at an economy rate of 11 an over.
The loss continued Australia’s dismal recent ODI form, reaching a state where Australia have now lost their past seven one-dayers after losing to South Africa in Perth on Sunday.
Australia in South Africa ODI series 2016/17– 5-0 loss to South Africa
Steve Smith (C)
Matthew Wade (WK)
Other squad members: Scott Boland, James Faulkner, Shaun Marsh and Daniel Worrall
Resting key team members Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood, Australia entered their five-match ODI tour of South Africa extremely raw and inexperienced, having to dig deep into the country’s domestic cricket scene to find replacement pacemen Daniel Worrall, Joe Mennie and Chris Tremain. The trio struggled to step up to the rigours of International cricket, claiming just four wickets between each other in the first four ODIs of the series, in 73.2 overs. In the fifth ODI, both of Australia’s opening bowlers, Tremain and Scott Boland, finished with an economy rate exceeding 10 runs an over.
South Africa would go on to inflict Australia with it’s first-ever five-match ODI series whitewash. South Africa’s run rate across the series of 6.88 would be their best in a series with five or more games.
David Warner was Australia’s shining light in the series, scoring 386 runs in the series. In the final match of the series, he scored 173, nearly 2/3 of Australia’s score of 296.