"Why don’t they give up? Every other nation on earth would have gone through the motions this morning. Where does it come from? It certainly isn’t a genetic inheritance. The English way is to give up properly and give up early, before mounting a completely futile rearguard action when all chance of victory has gone."
To be fair about that second part, it seems to be changing since the millennium turned. The days the English are formidable 'pests in Tests'.
But coming back to Aussies' approach to cricket, I recall Steve Waugh visiting India last week. He was asked about Australia 'slipping' in recent times. Steve named South Africa, England, India, Sri Lanka and Australia as the simultaneous 'almost number 1' teams in Tests. However he also said some more words that communicated a quiet confidence that although times will keep changing Australia wil never be found close to the bottom of the heap.
You never do in Test cricket unless you keep giving up.
Update 1: Here's an interview of another guy who never ever gave up - and in fact did way better than just doing that. He is the one man you don't want to see in your opposition team even if you have Bradman, Richards (both Viv & Barry) and Sunny playing for you. You can be Alexander the Great and yet with him on the other side you will end up giving your most famous (albeit disputed) quote:
"I am not afraid of an army of lions led by sheep but an army of sheep led by lions."
In the interview he narrates how he came back from his 1987 retirement lured by the prospect to win a Test series against the 1980's WI side in their backyard. He was seeing a win where other 35+ guys would be relieved to have retired and thus avoided ignominy. That is more like the Imran Khan I know. Suits the man far better than coming back to aim for a less impressive 50 overs World Cup win.
No wonder Immy is the only man I can stand inspite of using as many 'I's as he uses there. I never see him painting a halo for himself. He already has one, so he does not need to.
My orkut profile showed a 'thought of the day' that looked like a nice summary of some immortal-yet-forgettable Australian test innings from the late 80's and early 90's...innings that came mostly from Alan Border and Steve Waugh barring one - the best one - from Dean Jones:
"Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working."