Australia batted for just 32.5 overs    Getty Images
Australia batted for just 32.5 overs on Day 1 Getty Images

Hobart: Play was abandoned on the second day of the second Test between Australia and South Africa without a ball being bowled following incessant rain in Hobart on Sunday. The umpires made a ground inspection at 2:00 pm local time (0300 GMT) and decided to call off the day’s play, with the start scheduled 30 minutes earlier for each of the remaining three days. South Africa hold an 86-run lead after routing Australia for 85 and reaching stumps on the first day at 171 for five. Temba Bavuma will resume on Monday on 38 with Quinton de Kock not out 28. Extensive covers protected the Bellerive pitch and surrounds amid continual rain throughout Sunday with only a few hardy souls in the stands. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 2nd Test at Hobart

The Proteas skittled the Australians for just 85 off 32.5 overs on a seaming Bellerive pitch on Saturday for a record-low home total against South Africa. It followed the stunning first innings collapse of 10 for 86 in the first Test in Perth when Australia squandered a 158-run opening stand to surrender meekly to the Proteas by 177 runs. Critics ripped into the Australian cricket team Sunday after yet another ignominious batting collapse in the second Test against South Africa in Hobart.

Critics pointed to other recent dark days in Australian cricket and the nightmares of their miserable 47 in Cape Town in 2011 and England’s demolition for 60 at Trent Bridge last year. Coach Darren Lehmann admitted Australia’s batting was in crisis, telling reporters: “When you get bowled out for 85, it probably is, isn’t it? For us it’s a case of actually getting better and we lost 10-86 last Test match.”

Pressure continues to mount on Lehmann — who only received a lucrative three-year contract extension in Sri Lanka at the start of Australia’s four-match losing run — and on most of Australia’s top-order batsmen. “Cape Town, Birmingham, Nottingham, Galle, and now Hobart. Like falling cities in a losing war, the scenes of Australia’s cricket disasters have come to our doorstep,” The Sun-Herald’s Malcolm Knox wrote.

“The geography of decline presents a case that cannot be denied. In Australia’s case, the team failures have become frequent enough to suggest that the decline is irreversible.” Another Fairfax columnist Greg Baum said it was the fifth time in the past six years that Australia had been bowled out for fewer than 100. “The rout was all too predictable. Some batsmen were helpless, some were hapless, one, the first (David Warner), was reckless,” he said. The Australian newspaper warned fretful Aussie cricket fans of the challenges an Ashes tour in England pose for their suspect batsmen.

“The next away Ashes hardly bears contemplating. Today (Saturday) at Bellerive was as close as you can get to English conditions,” Andrew Faulkner said. “Australia failed just as they did when confronted with the swinging ball last year.” The Australian Broadcasting Corporation illuminated the confusion inside the national cricket team, from selectors to coaches to the players. “Right now, confusion reigns in Australian cricket. On Saturday it was just another innings falling apart, a sight now so familiar as to seem standard,” the ABC said.

“Confusion is not a problem confined to just the field. Decisions are taken hastily, inconsistently. Flawed reasoning underpins them. A clear thought process is rarely evident,” ABC concluded.