Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 5th day December 9, 2013

Lord's humiliation fired turnaround


Australia's dramatic turnaround from Test match lightweights to the brink of regaining the Ashes is the flowering of a regeneration that began in the aftermath of shattering defeat in the second match of the previous series at Lord's, the coach, Darren Lehmann, believes.

After completing a second consecutive battering of England at Adelaide Oval, this time despite a pitch that appeared to favour the visitors, Lehmann and the captain, Michael Clarke, said the team's change in fortunes had been a long time in the making.

Lehmann pinpointed the 347-run defeat at Lord's as the moment at which the team resolved to improve, drawing the next match at Old Trafford and beginning to shape the plans and attitudes that have been writ large across the two matches in Brisbane and Adelaide, won by the combined margin of 599 runs as the fearsome Mitchell Johnson harvested 17 wickets.

"I think we started to turn around after Lord's, after the way we played, the brand of cricket we're trying to play," Lehmann said. "We're starting to bat a lot better, bowl a lot better. If you look at the last five matches, we've certainly bowled a lot better, containing England with our plans.

"They're pretty driven this lot. I'm really pleased at what they bring to the table and how they've gone about things over the last few Test matches. We changed a few things in England and they've been a really good, driven bunch of players and support staff who want the right goal for Australian cricket and that's not just short term, that's long term.

"It helps when you win. It would have been nice in England not to have weather but we can't look back. We probably should have won one or two Test matches there. Once you start to win it makes it easier for guys to understand where they're going."

Clarke, who has contributed two centuries in as many Tests but been far from the only standout performer for his side, said victory in Brisbane had helped build confidence among players who had been striving for vindication of their efforts since England.

"I think the boys took a lot of confidence out of Brisbane, but I think we took a lot of confidence out of the back half of England to be honest," Clarke said. "It's nice to see everybody contributing, that's the most pleasing thing about these first two Tests. Although Mitch sits here as Man of the Match once again I think everyone in the team has contributed

"These two wins are satisfying because of the work we've put in over a long period of time. In our opinion it's not a fluke that we've won the first two Test matches. It's the hard work that we've put in. The reality is we've won two Test matches in the past 12 months and that's not acceptable as an Australian Test team. So our feet are well and truly cemented on the ground.''

Australia's selectors have named an unchanged squad for the Perth Test, due to begin on Friday, but have kept Doug Bollinger and Nathan Coulter-Nile on standby as reserve fast bowlers, pending the recoveries of Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Johnson.

"When we get to Perth, as we do for every Test match, every players will be assessed by our medical staff and if they're fully fit and able to perform at 100 per cent, they'll be available for selection," Clarke said. "From the information I have now, everybody's pulled up fine."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter on December 11, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    I agree that the toss (especially in England with doctored dry wickets, and a good spinner) is an advantage. But let's look at this series more closely.

    I was at the GABBA on day one. We won the toss and batted in very difficulty circumstances (bouncy green wicket) and a VERY slow outfield. Our score at the end of day one was 40 or 50 short compared to a ground with a fast outfield. We did a fine job to make runs we made on a tough day. The POMS batted on day 2 (the best batting day of the game) and were KILLED. That's their fault - not the toss.

    Let's see if Cook bats first at the WACA if he wins the toss. I'd like to see that. The game won't last 3 days. Lol

    In general tho the toss has too much influence on the outcome. The only way to overcome this is to have wickets that start favouring pace, roll out to favour batsmen and then break up to favour spinners. I have seen no such wickets in England or India.

  • Android on December 10, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    like Australia england is coming to an end of an era and these players are not performing at the heights they once did. the younger generation is not developed because of the big names being picked on reputation. as an aussie we watched this with ponting mind u he deserved to go out on his terms but I can see a few english players going down this road and being pushed. this will cause a problem that Australia has now with the batting with noone being developed. Australia's bowling attack is one of the best in the world and England's is aging at least the young stock in Australia is thriving.

  • Dale on December 10, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    @thinkgood you aren't serious are you? That has to be a joke. No one can honestly say the IPL has done anything other than detriment test cricket.

    One only has to look back to England vs India in India to see that an IPL dominated team means very little in tests. Australia are just on the improve while England might be on the decline, they now have a very good coach (Lehman), a healthy mix of youth and experience and a lot of depth in the fast bowling department.

    MJ finally bowling to his potential doesn't hurt either.

    @Dr.Vindaloo 2 things First Lyon isn't the best spinner, SOK is but selectors ignore him constantly for reasons unknown. SOK unlike Lyon specialises in taking 4th and 5th day wickets. Second Henriques is a seam bowler not a spinner.

    I agree with your assessment of the top 6. Though i think Warner is going to be something special in the future, he's still only 26 and he's averaging low 40's already and is improving leaps and bounds with each test.

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    England came arrogant their mentality we are the best in the world I am not an Aussie fan, Johanson mustache put fear in their mind plus English players have no patriotism half the side is ex South Africans, they came to UK to earn a better living except that little Indian who dances when he takes a wicket like he took 7 wicket, Swarn is not good under pressure, even the coach South African Ho my heaven their must some conspiracy.....

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    It was embarrassing to see England crumble in such humiliating way. Come on boys pick yourself up and fight back. No other way out. You got to face Johnson and your worst demon in positive way, or else most of you would be history very soon.

  • Alan on December 10, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    @ Carl Sinclair: The first 3 days of the Test are sold out anyway so unless you had tickets you weren't going to the WACA anyway

  • Richard on December 10, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    @thinkgood:- What a load of rot! Australian success is all because of the IPL eh, such very selective use of data. How about the England leg where they won 3-0. Is it then correct to say they won because they didn't play IPL. And how about the performance of the Indian team in South Africa atm? They've surely ALL played IPL and should by your theory be unbeatable, but they've have been massacred! Dare I say it Mr thinkgood, I think you need to think better. If you clutch at the most emotionally appealing/least emotionally uncomfortable solution your just likely to deny yourself the chance to find the correct one.

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    Easily the big difference from May this year to now is the attitude of the Aussies, from spoilt brats whose birthright was to play for Australia to hard working and to earn their place. Well done and congratulations mostly directed to the coach D Lehmann.

  • a on December 10, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    While the kudos to Mitchell Johnson are well deserved, we have to acknowledge the massive difference Brad Haddin's made to this side. He turned it around in Brisbane and has played superbly in Adelaide. Matthew Wade was a weak link and bringing Haddin back in the side was also key to this turnaround. David Warner can put the fear of god into bowlers. Hopefully, he'll become a dominant force with more consistent performances. The big disappointment is Shane Watson. I think he's fast getting into the 'overrated' category. The occasional 50s and 60s are not going to win matches for Australia.

  • Brady on December 10, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    Australia got deservedly handed a hiding at Lord's but otherwise they were still very competitive with the English while not playing particularly well on surfaces that were not conducive to their strength i.e. fast bowling. Australia were also terribly unlucky. This tour things have been quite different: the pitch at Brisbane suited our bowlers and Clarke has won the toss both games so far.

    However, as most of the sensible pundits are saying - this series is still yet to be won and in the longer term this team still has a very long way to go to reach their aim of #1. I think the bowling will take care of itself with Pattinson, Cummins and Starc being developed and Lyon still having a long career ahead of him. The question mark is over the batting: can we find six young batsmen in this country who can average over 40 consistently. Warner is starting to look the part but he is awfully lonely.

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