Lehmann ponders Faulkner inclusion
James Faulkner looms as an addition to Australia's bowling attack for Adelaide while George Bailey may be demoted to drinks duty after only one match as the coach Darren Lehmann considers the best way to use his resources in the second Ashes Test without exhausting them before the third.
The hosts will assemble in Adelaide over the next 24 hours, Lehmann arriving early to take a first look at the oval's new drop-in pitch and also assess the new environs of a ground changed irrevocably by its conversion to an AFL-approved stadium.
Already the selectors and the team performance manager Pat Howard have drawn up plans to have reserve pacemen rested from the Sheffield Shield and on call for the third Test in Perth on the assumption that Adelaide's surface will require hard toil, having not deteriorated significantly in its domestic dress rehearsals.
But the selection of Faulkner as a bowling allrounder is another option they will weigh up, the better to allow the likes of Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle to operate in shorter spells so they stand a better chance of backing up successfully for the WACA ground. Faulkner's improving batting and reliable seam-up left-arm bowling offer an attractive package on a surface where batsmen have not been troubled by anything like the steepling bounce of the Gabba.
"I'm really happy with the 12 we have put together and the 11 did the job in Brisbane and now it's a case of working out what the best 11 is to get a result here," Lehmann said. "James brings a real competitive streak, he showed that at The Oval. He has done well to retain his place in the 12 from The Oval and was unlucky to miss out in Brisbane. He reverses the ball, he's got good control and he has a crack, which we like.
"We might have to come up with a few different plans, and that is just part and parcel of the different wickets you get around the country so that is no different for us, adapting to the different styles and we will have to play a different style this game but still be very aggressive in what we do. In Brisbane obviously it had some pace and bounce in it, Adelaide might be a bit different, but it might reverse a bit more and spin a bit more so we just have to sum that as we go. The key is first innings of both sides, making sure you make some big runs or limit the opposition."
Lehmann mentioned the improving fitness of Shane Watson as another key to preserving Harris in particular. Watson delivered only two overs of medium pace at the Gabba but will be more capable of stepping in with the ball in Adelaide, while he also seeks runs after looking a little out of sorts in Brisbane.
"Yes, if he's fully fit, he'll play. I have said that all along, we're not changing our stance on that. If he is fit to play, he will play," Lehmann said of Harris. "I reckon he is going to be fit, at the moment they're all fit, so we're okay. We have an advantage with Shane Watson bowling more this Test match, he didn't have to bowl as much as we thought in the last one, so that is an advantage as well, but Ryan is a key player."
Adelaide has recently indulged in a debate over South Australia's greatest song, and Lehmann said he was keen to ensure his men were not to become known as "one-hit wonders" after their success in Queensland. A 2-0 or even 1-0 scoreline entering the third Test at the WACA ground would provide the hosts with a hugely advantageous hand with three matches to play.
"It's just one Test match so we have got to play well, back that up, and show we're the side we want to become, not just one-hit wonders, if you like," Lehmann said. "Play a brand of cricket that is strong, competitive each and every day, each and every session, and if we do that, we know we will get the results. But we can't just rest on our laurels after one Test.
"As always, you enjoy celebrations after a success, and you should do, it's a tough game, as we know, and it has been a while since we won a Test match so it's good we have done that, we have achieved that, and now it's get ready for Adelaide. They will come back really hard, we know England are a good cricket team and we'll have to be ready to play."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here