A damning review, a pain in the backside, anger over TV coverage, and an embarrassing top-order batting collapse.
Welcome to the start of Australia’s international summer, where Perth’s blue skies and bright sunshine haven’t been able to mask the dark clouds hanging over the game in this country.
The fallout from the ball tampering scandal resurfaced earlier this week when the damning review into Cricket Australia’s culture was made public.
CA chairman David Peever reluctantly fell on his sword after days of pressure.
With negative headlines swirling, Australia’s cricketers assembled in Perth to prepare for the three-match ODI series against South Africa.
Australia entered Sunday’s series opener having lost 16 of their past 18 ODIs, and they were dealt an unexpected blow when batsman Shaun Marsh was ruled out of the first match with an abscess on his buttocks.
Marsh has become accustomed to a wide range of injuries over his career, but this one surely takes the cake for peculiarity.
Ticket sales for Sunday’s match at Perth Stadium were so poor that less than a third of the 60,000-seat venue were occupied when the opening ball was bowled.
Fans at home were left disappointed when they realised the match wasn’t being broadcast on free-to-air TV because Foxtel had the rights under the new six- year, $1.2 billion broadcast agreement.
Social media was abuzz in recent days with fans voicing their anger and frustration. In an instant, their tradition of watching the cricket with friends and family had vanished.
It’s probably lucky for Australia that not many people were watching on Sunday, because the home side’s batting was disastrous.
Travis Head (1) fell in the third over, and he was soon followed by D’Arcy Short (0).
Australia were then left reeling at 8-3 in the sixth over when captain Aaron Finch was trapped LBW by Lungi Ngidi, with his failure to review the decision proving costly.
The first boundary didn’t come until the last ball of the 12th over, and Australia were 66-6 when Marcus Stoinis departed.
Australia were eventually bowled out for 152 in the 39th over.
And if it wasn’t for Alex Carey (33 off 71 balls) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (34 off 31), Australia wouldn’t have even reached triple figures.
A four-Test series against India awaits Australia after the ODI matches and a one-off T20.
At least the Test action will be on free-to-air TV, and fans will be hoping Australian cricket has got its act together by then.