'I don't know if we're better than that at the moment'
Steve Smith admits the all-time rankings low point that is coming for his team is an accurate reflection of Australian cricket, after his young charges succumbed to a despairing first ever loss to Bangladesh.
A superb David Warner century was not enough to save Australia from collapsing in an epic Test match thriller in Dhaka, a misery mitigated only by the fact Ashes foes England have just been humbled themselves by the West Indies.
Australia fought hard for significant portions of a run chase that ended 20 agonising runs short, but a disastrous first innings batting failure will ensure the loss goes down as an abject failure for a team that had made advancements in India earlier in the year.
It's a historical moment for a ninth-ranked Bangladesh side that's won only 10 of 101 Tests and has players earning just $20,000 a year.
Pat Cummins threatened to pull off a late miracle, made possible by Warner's drought-breaking sub-continental hundred, but a crippling collapse of 6-41 in the space of just 16 overs has put Australia on the brink of a chastening series loss to Bangladesh and a brutal fall to No.6 on the ICC Test rankings.
Not since the Argus Review has Australia slipped so low, and Smith concedes his team may not be any better than that as they look to transform from perennial strugglers away from home.
"I don't know if we're better than that at the moment, that's a difficult question," said a despondent Smith, who concedes the first Test was a low point for his side.
"It's disappointing. We let ourselves down in the first innings with the bat ... we made a few errors. A few guys getting out ways they've got out before and not learning from their mistakes, which is a bit disappointing.
"I think we're still a young team, obviously some new players that have come in only last year in the summer and guys that are still trying to find their way. We're a team that needs to continue to improve.
"I felt we made some really good strides on our last tour to India ... but the fact we made a few of those mistakes in the first innings (here) was disappointing.
"We've still got a long way to go to rise up in the rankings and hopefully us as a group can continue to improve and get better."
Selectors are set to make changes to a misfiring outfit, including the 180 backflip of returning Steve O'Keefe - but there were glimmers of hope mixed amongst the carnage.
Warner's 112 was arguably his best in Test cricket, Nathan Lyon finished with nine wickets and Ashton Agar and Pat Cummins showed they have the character to one day change the face of Australian cricket.
Cummins and Nathan Lyon raised final hopes that the impossible was still possible when they put on 29 in 10 overs, but in the end not even the sight of the big bowler - who was a hero under similar circumstances against South Africa on debut in 2011 - smashing two sixes into the crowd could stop Bangladesh raucously celebrating on the field and in the stands.
However, the crippling batting collapses just keep on coming.