Australia are so bad that the return of Steve Smith and David Warner won't rescue them, according to former England captain Michael Vaughan.
The critics are circling as once mighty Australia reels from its first home loss to India, and there appears to be no respite for the Baggy Green brigade.
A confident New Zealand will begin its quest to win a test series across the Tasman for the first time in over 30 years, in a three-match duel which inclues the Boxing Day test.
And Australia could have suffered even more damage by then, after an Ashes series in England.
Michael Vaughan, one of the world's best batsmen during his long career, told his Telegraph readers Australia was dreaming if it thought Smith and Warner would rescue their side once they return from ball tampering bans.
"They are kidding themselves if they think everything will be rosy when Smith and Warner come back," wrote Vaughan, who among England's most successful captains.
"I honestly can't see Australia beating England unless they assess themselves brutally."
While there has been a lot of attention on Australia's wobbly batting minus Smith and Warner, Vaughan said "the bowling is not as good as they think".
He advised Australia to break up what had been a highly regarded pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
"They need a more skilful bowler such as a Peter Siddle or Trent Copeland," he said.
"It is not often quick bowlers come to England and blast batsmen out. It may happen in one Test but not over the course of a five match series.
"You need consistent line and length, and skilful manipulation of the conditions. At the moment I don't see Australia having those attributes.
"Starc is an issue. He is wayward. He is fantastic when the team are on top. He makes things happen, but he is a luxury bowler."
Upcoming tests against Sri Lanka presented a chance to re-work the batting plans.
"But the senior core looked fragile," wrote Vaughan.
"When (Usman) Khawaja and (Shaun) Marsh walk out to bat I never feel they look like senior batsmen.
"I still feel they are making their debuts or starting out in their career yet between them they have played 75 Tests. Against Sri Lanka they could gamble on a younger player, just to shake up these guys.
"Fundamental batting basics have to be sorted out. Australia's system has had a rich batting heritage. But I can't see any Australian player who plays spin well. They have an issue with that.
"In England they will face seam, swing and spin. I can't see there being a draw in the Ashes. There will be five results."
The Telegraph's veteran cricket writer also weighed in.
Under a headline declaring Australia's batting was in "disarray", Scyld Berry wrote: "In this series, in the absence of the banned David Warner and Steve Smith, Australia's batsmen have been a collection of waifs and strays."
He predicted more pain for the Aussie batsmen in an Ashes series "designed for James Anderson, and played with (swinging) Dukes balls."