Australia captain Steve Smith conceded the recently concluded five-match One Day International series against South Africa was trying as they were not able to manage a single win.
The visitors lost the fifth and final ODI at Cape Town on Tuesday and succumbed to their first ever 5-0 series whitewash across all formats of the game. A Rilee Rossouw ton helped South Africa post a total of 327, which was the third time in the series the hosts had crossed the 300-run mark.
In reply, Australia's opening batsman David Warner came up with a spirited effort, which saw him smash 173 off just 136 balls. However, the visitors ended up being 31 runs short of the target as seven of their batsmen, including captain Smith, managed only single-digit scores.
In a run-heavy series, Australia's inexperienced bowling line-up fell flat against the big-hitting South Africans. Despite not having batting superstar AB de Villiers in the squad, the hosts were able to put pressure on the visitors with runs on the board.
Despite stressing that it was a disappointing series, the Australian skipper said it was important for his team to shift the focus to the upcoming Test series at home against the South Africans, starting 3 November.
"I have never played in a series where we've lost all five games. It has been a difficult task," Smith was quoted as saying by the Nine's Wide World of Sports.
"Having said that, Davey was magnificent today. To score 170 out of our 290 was remarkable. The rest of us were not good enough.
"Disappointing, but we have to move on. One Shield game before SA come for the Test series."
The absence of Australia's frontline bowlers in Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood had its impact in the series whitewash. After successful series wins in West Indies [Tri-series involving the hosts and South Africa] and Sri Lanka, the Smith-led unit looked depleted against the African nation.
With John Hastings and Scott Bolland leading the attack, Australia tried three uncapped pacers for the series in Chris Tremain, Joe Mennie and Daniel Worrall. Except Tremain, the two other youngsters were taken to the cleaners by the South African batsmen.
Also the lack of runs at the top of the batting line-up did damage to the Australians. Barring Warner, none of the Australian batsmen had an average of more than 35. Experienced campaigners George Bailey and Aaron Finch had poor outings in the five-match series.
"We just haven't been able to put enough partnerships together. We've had guys who have had starts and not been able to go on with it," Smith lamented.
Meanwhile, Hazlewood defended the decision to rest him for the series despite his team's humiliating whitewash. The 25-year-old pacer said the "long" Sri Lanka tour had a draining impact.
"Sri Lanka was a long tour physically and mentally. And with a lot of cricket coming up I think the rest was valid," Hazlewood told Cricket Australia's official website.