Australia’s World Test Championship triumph was hailed on Monday as “momentous” – but warned it will quickly be forgotten if they do not win the Ashes.
Pat Cummins’ side crushed India by 209 runs in the final at The Oval in a show of strength ahead of the Ashes against arch-rivals England starting on Friday.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph said Australia “deserve praise” for routing Rohit Sharma’s team, but warned: “Deep down they know that the main prize is still to be won.
“Because the brutal truth is this fine accomplishment from Pat Cummins’ men will soon be forgotten if Australia doesn’t win the Ashes,” said the tabloid.
“The good news is, performing in the pressure of a Test Championship final seems a pretty good way to warm up for England.”
Australian selectors now face a major decision on whether to stick with seamer Scott Boland for the first Test at Edgbaston or bring back pace spearhead Josh Hazlewood, who is returning from injury.
After Boland’s second-innings exploits at The Oval, including the prize scalp of Virat Kohli on Sunday on his way to figures of 3-46 in 16 overs, local media agreed it would be almost impossible to drop him.
Australia’s victory was the culmination of a two-year programme of Tests that saw them win 12 out of 20 matches, with five draws and three defeats.
Local media said there had been “turbulence and reinvention” after former skipper Tim Paine stepped down over a sexting scandal in late 2021 and Justin Langer quit as coach in acrimonious circumstances months later.
With the more reserved Andrew McDonald now in charge and Cummins growing into his role as skipper, national broadcaster ABC said Australia had morphed into “a more balanced, rounded and complete side”.
“Not every decision has been right, not every situation perfectly handled, but as Cummins wrestled that (WTC) mace in front of a team that is now unequivocally his, it’s hard to argue against them,” it said.
“Now comes the chance to prove it, once and for all, in the biggest Test series of a generation.”
The Sydney Morning Herald praised Cummins and McDonald for “creating an environment in which individuals could find their best paths to culminate in team success.
“Preparation and planning has been very much tailored to each player, with some formidable results,” it said.