The Ashes 2013-14

Lehmann made playing for Australia fun again - Watson

Daniel Brettig

January 6, 2014

Comments: 96 | Text size: A | A
'Special feeling for everyone involved' - Watson

Like a politician brought back from the cold due to change at the top, Shane Watson is no longer an anguished voice in the Australian wilderness.

The most ardent in-house critic of the national team's former direction, Watson has added reason to feel satisfied about Australia's Ashes rampage this summer. They have come a long way since the fractious days of less than a year ago, when Watson and three others were suspended for a Test match in India as relationships with the former coach Mickey Arthur broke down.

The day after Australia completed a barely believable 5-0 sweep of England in the second of back-to-back Ashes series, Watson spoke of how Darren Lehmann had returned a sense of fun and balance to a dressing room that had become insular, intense and often unpleasant during the latter days of Arthur's tenure.


Shane Watson, Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin enjoy the moment of victory, Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 5th day, December 9, 2013
Shane Watson was seldom part of such scenes of camaraderie under Australia's previous coach Mickey Arthur © Getty Images
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Watson did not enjoy the "high performance" direction the team culture had taken, and was not shy about saying so. As a result of this frankness, his relationship with the captain Michael Clarke suffered, and he was also stood down from the vice-captaincy. But Lehmann's appointment - and the wise medical counsel of the team doctor Peter Brukner - has allowed Watson to rehabilitate, as the team around him gathered strength in England before rumbling to the most comprehensive series triumph imaginable in Australia.

"Personally it makes it more sweet," Watson said. "To know that there were times when I knew I had to stand strong with my beliefs only for the betterment of what I thought was the amazing talent we had in the group. I certainly would never take back how I stood and voiced my opinions at certain times. I know that when there are down times, if you stand strong for long enough and persevere for long enough things might turn around and they certainly have in a way that I never expected.

"I've always had certain beliefs and I've been lucky enough to be around so many great teams, whether it was the Australian team or other teams that I've played in. I got to know most importantly that you need to be making sure you're having a lot of fun because it's a game that if you take too seriously - and I do at times, and I've always got to turn myself around - you can really get too internal and the game gets too much for you. That's what was happening in the Australian team."

Reflecting on the team room of 12 months ago, Watson said the concept of having fun and enjoying the game had been forsaken in pursuing goals that seemingly became less attainable the harder the team aspired to them. Lehmann reduced the tension in the air, while at the same time encouraging his players to be themselves. By adding perspective to the team, Watson said Lehmann had helped make the quest for the Ashes a challenge to be enjoyed rather than an all-consuming struggle to be endured.

Largely thanks to Lehmann,Watson said the reality of playing cricket for Australia now matches up to the dream of doing so. "That it was meant to be the time of your life had gone out the window," Watson said. "It was more so you had to be desperate and put every other part of your life on hold to become the best player and best team in the world instead of just getting the perfect balance, which means you're more chance of actually putting the performances on the board as a team and individually. And Darren knew that from experience and that's exactly what he implemented.

"I know how lucky I am to be involved in such a special environment because it doesn't always come along.

"It's not just something you stumble across, it's something that people do put a lot of time and effort in certain ways to be able to make sure that an environment like this is created and that's the amazing skill that Darren Lehmann has brought in. It really is an absolute pleasure to be a part of, not just the dream of playing cricket for Australia, but to actually be involved in something that is so much fun, that's the reason I started playing and why I'm playing now."

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (January 8, 2014, 2:34 GMT)

Lehmann made a good decision in England to let Shane Watson have his coveted opening bat position. It turned out it was enough rope as Watson's form was clearly not potent enough for him to retain that position. Thus ended the "Watson can only have success as an opener" saga.

Lehmann smartly repeated the trick with moving him to no 3. Eventually, he'll hit a form slump there too and Lehmann can convince Watson that no. 6 is really the place for him.

Posted by Clavers on (January 7, 2014, 23:12 GMT)

@Samdanh: "Australian batting cannot play quality spin?"

When did Swann and Panesar stop being bowlers of "quality spin?" It was presumably some time after their last tour of India when they wiped the floor with Sachin & Co.

Posted by vik-AUS on (January 7, 2014, 23:07 GMT)

South Africa will win 2-0 and Watson, Rogers, Brad and Harris will retire. Watson, Warner and George Bailey will retire from Test.

Posted by Biggus on (January 7, 2014, 11:10 GMT)

@rickyvoncanterbury:- Just playing devil's advocate mate, not really serious. As you say though, would be fun to watch.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (January 7, 2014, 8:37 GMT)

@Biggas The mediator must not have liked my last reply I will try again, Mate your suggestion has merit, the problem I see with that is that people with 3rd day tickets get ripped off, and the Jane Mcgrath day is also day 3, but on the other hand Indians being very much in favour of playing well in all conditions know that they will never be a great team until they can master the pace and bounce and win in Australia, and in all my time we have never needed to do that against them, but geeze it would be good to watch

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (January 7, 2014, 8:00 GMT)

@ Bonehead_maz on (January 7, 2014, 7:16 GMT) I have heard you can live in New South Wales and be a QLDEer and NZ, PNG, Darwin, the moon,

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (January 7, 2014, 7:16 GMT)

As a Queensland supporter, I'd be really annoyed if Lehmann had left for any other job. Look what happened to Qld cricket when he arrived :). Look what has happened since he left :( . Should have stayed a Qlder Watto

Posted by Samdanh on (January 7, 2014, 7:04 GMT)

Australia batting needs to be more strong in performance in overseas tours. SA can be expected to lay out dry pitches to negate the Aus pace attack and crush the Aus batting which cannot play quality spin (except perhaps Clarke and Smith to some extent) Australia needs to rest not just Siddle and Harris but also Johnson from ODIs. There are plenty of fast bowlers who could be roped in to play the ODIs with England. Also, for overseas tours it is important they take one more spinner to be used when pitches are doctored. Furhter a back up quality spinner should always be with the team to be able to play if Lyon gets injured or a second spinner is required. It is very key for Aus to use some foresight in squad composition

Posted by Biggus on (January 7, 2014, 6:57 GMT)

@rickyvoncanterbury:- Given that we'll be accused of preparing 'Greentops' (even if they're not green) we should go the whole hog and really serve up some. You know, pitches where you can't tell the outfield from the strip. Maybe we could have our groundsmen use some 'selective watering' as well, I hear it's all the fashion on the subcontinent. A little selective watering just short of a good length on off stump should do it. We're going to be served up tripe wickets when we tour there anyway, what's to lose?

Posted by Thegimp on (January 7, 2014, 6:26 GMT)

Come on, we all know what will happen in this upcoming series against SA.

Graham Smith will talk it up, everyone will be running around in circles, SA will start favourites again and then they'll choke..............just history repeating over and over and over.....

Posted by sweetspot on (January 7, 2014, 6:15 GMT)

Finally, somebody gets it! And I never thought it would be Watto! What's the point of playing any game if it wasn't fun?

England and their "method" may have worked for a while, but they are clueless when their plan is broken by the opposition. The rest is just a matter of time before total self destruction sets in. What's the point of that?

I loved it when Flintoff was there, for he couldn't be contained by all the strict stuff, but England have no characters anymore, just zombies going through their motions. The whole "professional" nonsense was beginning to choke the life out of cricket anyway. Why are there no people at Tests compared to T20s? The FUN is the reason.

Absolutely no way any team can rise to greatness without enjoying it, much like great actors do it in cinema.

Posted by RameshRayaprolu on (January 7, 2014, 5:58 GMT)

will look forward to SA Vs AUS....must be an amazing series coming up...AUS bowling looks positive...slightly better than SA, but SA can be dangerous in home conditions...should be a treat to watch both teams play their full strength...

Posted by Rajeshj on (January 7, 2014, 5:53 GMT)

This series was all about Mitch.. I mean Harris and Siddle bowled superb lines, but they did so in the 2011 Ashes too, but were they able to dismantle the dominant England team then.. If Mitch instilled fear in the English dressing room, Haddin saved them quite a few times from batting embarrassments.. So I guess, this series had little to do with Boof's coaching credentials or Clarke's role as the captain.. remember how many tactical blunders they did in the recent Ashes in England and how hapless Clarke was in Indian series.. Once Mitch runs out of steam, I guess this Aussie team would easily fall back into true ordinary state.. Watto had a pretty ordinary series and so he can make such fancy statements to divert focus away from the true facts..

Posted by   on (January 7, 2014, 5:33 GMT)

It took a decade to realize by other cricket playing countries the reason why Steve Vaugh and Ricky Ponting aushies were reigning the world of Cricket - the set up behind the team. Coaches from school levels, domestic levels and finally the national level, specialist coaches for batting, fielding and bowling. But then all countries had this arrangement. Most importantly they had psychologists that strengthened the team network and belief that they are the winners. India was the first to catch the mystery and organized their team in this fashion, and no doubt achieved success home and abroad. Australia went down in the ranking.// But, Australia has again risen with some new tricks up their sleeves. Watch out other teams!

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (January 7, 2014, 5:19 GMT)

@ Biggus on (January 6, 2014, 16:58 GMT) come on mate that series does not matter, they have not won there so it does not count , they will ignore that series like all the others played in Australia. as all us cricket lovers say the true test of any team is if they can win on doctored pitches.

Posted by dinosaurus on (January 7, 2014, 5:19 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa

I'm by no means the only Australian who knows that the upcoming tour of SA will provide a real test of the team's performance. While I remember SA's excellent "away from home" record, you seem to have slightly overlooked the fact that SA hasn't won a series against Aus in SA since re-admission. No, I haven't forgotten that Bill Lawry's team lost 4-0 before the exclusion.

Posted by Ozizim on (January 7, 2014, 5:11 GMT)

I suppose Boof has brought the fun back, but Watto really needs to go beyond the consistent 40s he scores. An average of low 30s is just not good enuff, tho as a supporter of any team that plays the Aussies, I always worry when he bowls, so I suppose he has that going for him.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2014, 5:10 GMT)

Great come back ever seen. Now check your luck with SA.. Break a leg!!

Posted by Ravi1438 on (January 7, 2014, 4:46 GMT)

In captaincy bailey ll be a good choice fr australia... present team efforts are appreciated.. from the begining aus having a problem of backup player they ll be in very good side if any 1 get injured r retired they ll not have a backup..they should overcome f this to hold their num 1 position in all formates..!!!

Posted by Pradeepmani007 on (January 7, 2014, 4:46 GMT)

Tough Fight for SA...Australia is comming

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (January 7, 2014, 4:43 GMT)

This young Aus -though not patch on all conquering side of same name of a few years back argu. greatest of all- with their awesome worlds best pace barrage seems on a deadly mission.Bring back o/hyped 'great' teams to earth!Eng leave with 5-0.SA is next!

Posted by   on (January 7, 2014, 4:39 GMT)

The South African tour will be a bloodbath. They have only lost one test series out of their last 26 (apologize if that is incorrect), they aren't the number 1 ranked side and don't have the top 2 bowlers and batters for nothing.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (January 7, 2014, 4:28 GMT)

Eng done and dusted! Now its time for 'S'Africa !!

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (January 7, 2014, 3:54 GMT)

What I am finding fun is reading the idiotic comments from some of the pundits, you can tell by their posts they are feeling all the emotions, they are concerned, worried, paranoid. It was fun for them when Australia were ordinary, they still may be, I doubt it and so do they, that's the reason they are now Saffers supporters or just making idiotic statements as this may be the last chance for a while.

Posted by PENlS on (January 7, 2014, 3:27 GMT)

If this series was anything it was a glowing endorsement of the abolition of the rotation policy.

Posted by vik-AUS on (January 7, 2014, 3:21 GMT)

This 5-0 talk is just wastage of time. In SA after first test match Watson will be injured, M Johnson will bowl every where, Harris will be injured, lyon will be back on his old job (Preparing useless pitches in South Australia). By end of the series Brad, Harris, and Rogers will retire. Watson & Warner will give up Test & ODI format and will start playing IPL, BBL like Chris Gayle. We saw the great Australian team after they won from India 4-0 and then lost in India 4-0, in Eng 3-0 and in Aus 1-0 from SA. Darren Lehmann just put everything under the carpet for this series but by end of SA series, we will see cracks in Aus team.

Posted by Thegimp on (January 7, 2014, 2:42 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa..... you missed one vital difference bro, one team chokes in World Cups

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (January 7, 2014, 2:34 GMT)

@ Rahulbose, you seem to have missed that England weren't in disarray before Australia played them. The Aussies certainly get credit for improving their team attitude and performance by beating an established opponent a couple of places above them in the rankings. I think most Aussies realise this team isn't the finished product - by a long shot - and therefore their performances against SA should be viewed for what they are, another step towards a stable team able to win at home and away.

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (January 7, 2014, 2:24 GMT)

Watson is still guarded with the might, could, possibly in his answers, because while Arthur and his bureaucratic approach have gone, the people who put him there are still employed by CA. Until Howard and the other suits are shown the door as they have been irrelevant to the winning culture that's now is in its infancy, the players will still reflect that 'watch your back' press conference speak that permeates sporting teams world wide. Regardless, it's good to hear the release in the voices of team oriented players like Haddin, Harris, Johnson and even players unsuited to team leadership like Watson & Warner.

Posted by Little_Aussie_Battler on (January 7, 2014, 1:47 GMT)

Still baffles me why they would employ an old provincial cricketer from South Africa to coach the Australian cricket team. The people that employed Mickey Arthur are still there. Why? They are capable of making these monumental cock ups and are still in a job.

As for Mickey Arthur, where is he now? He was out of his depth running the Australian team. His knowledge, experience was simply all wrong for the task.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2014, 1:13 GMT)

I agree with all those who say SA will be the test. But just a reminder since SA's reintroduction to Test cricket Australia has never lost a series in South Africa and is the only side in the world who can boast that fact. This even includes a drawn series in 2011 when we were hardly a decent team,

Posted by wellrounded87 on (January 7, 2014, 0:54 GMT)

South Africa is going to be a huge test. Australia vs SA are always close contested battles. Look at the last 2 series 1-1 Draw in South Africa and 1-0 to SA in Aus (that really wasn't far off being 2-1 to Aus with Australia well on top at the gabba with a day lost to rain and 2 wickets shy of a victory in Adelaide with one bowler out early in the match)

The attacks are pretty evenly matched. Johnson, Harris and Siddle play very similar roles to Steyn, Philander and Morkel. Lyon i think is well ahead of Peterson and Tahir.

SA's biggest advantage is with the bat. Despite the comprehensive win our top order collapsed far too often and they'll need to do much better against the proteas if we stand any chance of winning the series.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2014, 0:36 GMT)

Interesting comments about England being in disarray. Was that the same England that beat Australia 3-0 in the recent series in England? Dis Australia's attack have anything to do with their disarray, at all? Talk about excuses, Trott nicking off back to England, Swan retiring. Watson didn't mention Australia being "great", or their ability to beat South Africa, he merely compared the feeling in the teem under Boof with what it was like before.

Posted by Maroubra_Flyer on (January 6, 2014, 23:33 GMT)

Well done Aus! There has definitely been a big improvement under Lehman (whoever says coaches don't make a difference is daft - why do we have them?). As for SA, what a series it will be, Aus have a very good record against them away. I think it will be very close, with Kallis gone (VERY underrated allrounder) it's about par. The bowling matches up well with Lyon a plus. I think SA are in front in the batting as they have introduced batsmen to the team who've done well (Du Plessis). For Aus Amla's wicket is the key, he has destroyed us previously. However it will be interesting to see His Serene Highness - Amla - against Johnson. Amla has a similar technique to Trott, when in form they score well & are difficult to bowl at. Don't underestimate the difference Mc Dermott has made to the bowlers by urging them to pitch up, where previously against SA we banged it in & played to their back foot strengths. Who can take the pressure will be the key.

Posted by deeplongon on (January 6, 2014, 23:30 GMT)

A few months ago I said we would be two up after Perth. Lots of people here laughed. Well I was wrong - we were 3 up. Sorry.

Now there are two things that annoy me greatly. People saying that our win against England is less valuable because the Poms are in disarray. To them I say - this is sport. The Poms are in disarray because we made them that way. That's how sport works. It's OUR fault they are in a mess.

Now the other thing that annoys me is the view that South Africa will kill us. What was the score in SA last time. And the time before. And when they were here last time. They have all been very close series. We were unlucky here last time having Pattinson break down in Adelaide when we had them on toast. We can win in SA just like we won here. And you know what - When we do it will be OUR fault.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 23:30 GMT)

TommytuckerSaffa says earlier here in effect that Australia will struggle in SA. They may do, but it seems likely this resurgence of Australian cricket will still be too good for SA. Rankings aside, Australia is the better team and will win in SA even on their own turf. If the series was to be played here Australia would win 3-0.

Australian captains are the world's best, always have been, and this is the key to their success.

Posted by spindizzy on (January 6, 2014, 23:05 GMT)

@CodandChips - get over your NSW fixation. Hughes is history, done, finished. Silk is looking pretty bloody average so far too. We wont see Hughes in the Australian test side again, he's too much of a liability as they have finally learned.

Posted by NAP73 on (January 6, 2014, 22:55 GMT)

It's a bit easier when you are playing at home against average opposition. SAF will be a different challenge. And Oz will never win in India again for a very long time (if at all). Watson is still not fit enough (doesn't bowl many overs, which you will need to do against a decent batting attack) and his front pad issue has come back again. He always seems to make a score when it is easy, or a start every now and then, to encourage selectors to keep picking him. Maybe that is why he prefers Oz to not follow a high performance culture...

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 22:15 GMT)

won't be so much fun when australia returns back from south africa....south africa is the team to beat...eagerly waiting for the series to start !!

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 21:42 GMT)

The truest test is being able to win away from home, as Lehmann basically said. Even NZ kicks ass at home.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 21:25 GMT)

It's a game - fun should be the starting point. That's the reason West Indies of the Calypso fame were so good. Looking at it as profit-loss, pros-cons will only tend to make it more tiresome. Agreed much money and expectations ride on teams performance and it's hard to manage. But if you get on to the field with a fresh glimpse of enthusiasm you had when you began that's enough. Rest will fall in place.

Posted by Kiwiheart on (January 6, 2014, 21:20 GMT)

I commend their efforts, but this England side seemed defeated before they came. It will be interesting to see how they compare to South Africa. Chris Rogers and Steve Smith may have to work harder for their runs.

Posted by __PK on (January 6, 2014, 21:11 GMT)

TommytuckerSaffa - but SA can't win at home. Probably something to do with choking under the weight of home crowd expectation. Their home record is embarrassing and the cowardly way they finished the first test against India recently means they're setting themselves up for an implosion against Australia. Sorry, mate, but you sound exactly like the English supporters did, coming into this Ashes series.

Posted by couchpundit on (January 6, 2014, 21:00 GMT)

NEED TO WIN OUTSIDE AUSTRALIA MATE!!! how good are you if you can not win outside australia? Even Bangladesh can whitewash Australia in Bangladesh.

Posted by Rahulbose on (January 6, 2014, 20:18 GMT)

Its the Ashes and you can't blame Aus for going over the top with a 5-0 scoreline after loosing the last 3. But if they keep things in perspective this was a home win against an English team in disarray. They have a challenge in SA coming up next, for neutral observers that will show if this resurgence is for real.

Posted by Biggus on (January 6, 2014, 17:59 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa:- Oh, for God's sake he's NOT Australian, it's obvious.

Posted by murthydn16 on (January 6, 2014, 17:19 GMT)

All cricket team are tigers in there own den and lambs out side, be it Aus, India, Eng, NZ etc.

Posted by android_user on (January 6, 2014, 17:04 GMT)

as indian I am happy to see this type of aus team enjoying cricket good keep it up

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (January 6, 2014, 17:03 GMT)

@InsideHedge No, the difference between SA and Australia is that SA is ranked no.1 and Australia is ranked no.3 with a massive difference of 22 ranking points. The difference between the teams is that SA wins overseas, while Australia has lost their last 8 test matches overseas.

Small differences I suppose, but easy to overlook hey.

Posted by 64blip on (January 6, 2014, 16:59 GMT)

To those saying of course cricket is fun when you are winning, I think Watson is suggesting that under previous regimes it wasn't even fun then. Clarke mentioned the "lack of anxiety" in the dressing room under Lehman, which I assume was present when they were losing in England too. Whatever happens in SA, this team aren't going to end up the abject mess they were in India, or England have been this series.

Posted by Biggus on (January 6, 2014, 16:58 GMT)

@arvind.Kejriwal.AAP_A_Better_INDIA_:- " Lets see how their pacers and Lyon-the lone spinner perform in sub-continent." Jumping the gun there a little don't you think? First we have to see how the 'world's best batting side' fare in Australia next summer.

Posted by gandabhai on (January 6, 2014, 16:55 GMT)

I recon Warne is the unsung hero here. It was his mental disintegration of Cook in England that started their demise.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (January 6, 2014, 16:55 GMT)

Posted by InsideHedge on (January 6, 2014, 15:56 GMT) Lots of ppl here remarking about the greatness of the SA team. The difference between SA and Australia - or for that matter most teams - is that Australia would never have backed out of attempting to win the JoBurg Test. 16 runs off four overs and SA backed out. That will be a stain on their reputation for a long time.

@InsideHedge Thanks for your baseless opinion - you obviously didn't watch the Drawn test match and if you did you would have noted Indian bowlers bowling short and wide of the wicket for the last 3 overs. Anyway, enjoy the ashes victory and see you in a month. Lets see if the Ozzies can do what the Saffas have to Oz with 2 back to back series wins their own backyard.

Posted by Porky_PigTheToon on (January 6, 2014, 16:43 GMT)

Aus last 9 Tests result (outside Aus):

L L L L L L L L L

Lets see how their pacers and Lyon-the lone spinner perform in sub-continent.

Posted by CodandChips on (January 6, 2014, 16:41 GMT)

Watson should not be playing test cricket. Not good enough batsman (scored his hundreds against a poor attack + fielders) and too injured to bowl. Faulkner is a better allrounder, and would mean you would be more inclined to take a rsik with the body of Ryan Harris. Bailey had a tough ashes, and should be replaced by a more stable batsman, in my opinion Philip Hughes is the guy, and he should bat at 3. Haddin is good enough to move up to 6 for now.

1.Rogers 2.Warner 3.Hughes 4.Clarke 5.Smith 6.Haddin 7.Faulkner 8.Johnson 9.Siddle 10.Harris 11.Lyon

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (January 6, 2014, 16:32 GMT)

One of the most comprehensive victories of all time by the greatest cricketing nation of all time

Posted by InsideHedge on (January 6, 2014, 15:56 GMT)

Lots of ppl here remarking about the greatness of the SA team. The difference between SA and Australia - or for that matter most teams - is that Australia would never have backed out of attempting to win the JoBurg Test. 16 runs off four overs and SA backed out. That will be a stain on their reputation for a long time.

Last time Australia toured SA, they were humiliated by being bowled out for 40 odd in one Test innings. It's what happened in the very next Test match that tells you a tale of the difference between these two sides.

Posted by InsideHedge on (January 6, 2014, 15:54 GMT)

It's good to see Aus playing top class cricket, it's good for the game. However, I would like to see them improve their behaviour esp in Australia and esp when they play sub continental teams.

Watto is someone that's very popular outside of Oz, particularly in India, and with good reason. It seems he's finally winning over the Oz faithful, he deserves his time in the spotlight. I can't recall a Watto performance that I haven't found entertaining, even his lbws are fun! A very underrated player, scores quickly by smacking the ball hard, bowls with passion often breaking important partnerships, and fields expertly in the slip cordon.

From a fan's perspective, along with Johnson, he will always stop to sign autographs for fans whether coming to the ground to practice, leaving the ground, arriving at the hotel.....top man. Congratulations Watto, you deserve it.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 15:33 GMT)

Given his mediocre performances, maybe he feels a need to grovel.

Posted by perl57 on (January 6, 2014, 15:23 GMT)

Australia. Good? Bad? Or just plain good to beat England. Once Trott left like a scared chicken, it was all over for Eng. But how good is Australia? I do not think they are so good to go to South Africa and defeat them. I do not think they can go back to UAE to be at pakistan. But they have gotten a step back to hold their fortress thanks to only one person, Mitch Johnson. Without him, this series would have been a goner for Australia. Not to undermine the skills of Mitch but he was more hostile than unplayable. For the luck of Oz there was no batsman from Eng who said, "Over my dead body". Hence I feel this Oz team is still average but very good in its own fort.

Posted by dabbadubba on (January 6, 2014, 14:59 GMT)

too much brouhahaa over 1 series win.. a win always makes the team feel better... better keep the balanced perspective.. will be useful when SA thrashes Aus 3-0 soon.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 14:30 GMT)

Lehman certainly seems to have the fun back in the dressing room. But I think it is too early to start celebrating. The poms were well below par and winning definitely helps get "fun" in the dressing room. The real test will be the SA series. If the Aussies can enjoy themselves as much and keep having as much fun when they are in a tough situation in SA, then I would agree.

Posted by android_user on (January 6, 2014, 14:19 GMT)

@matt.au I have surely heard and seen a lot mate and I can assure you that they l all play as well as Watson s doing right now... I dont see any visible evidence to back up watto s tall talk... he made one rapid century with no pressure at all... he has hardly had an occasion where he made the ball play tricks on the batsmen! any logical person will agree that lehmann hasnt reinvented the wheel over a course of 2 months... the poms were down and out at the end of the first test itself and it was a spectacular implosion which came on the back of some key withdrawals by trott and swann... honestly this series isn't a measure of Australia s talent... they have to prove a lot before they can be labelled great!

Posted by mzm149 on (January 6, 2014, 13:37 GMT)

Of all the contemporary test teams, Australia is the only one which can trouble South Africa. They were on top for most of the days when South Africa visited them in 2012. If du Plessis had not saved the Adelaide test, the series would have been drawn. When they visited South Africa in 2011, they drew the test series which in itself is a big achievement. I am sure Australia will give tough time to South Africa this time too. Who knows may be they might win the series.

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (January 6, 2014, 13:02 GMT)

I am very happy that Australia has come back from the dead. It seems like 2011 when they beat India 4-0 and then in 2012 in two testswhen they had South Africa on the run in the home series an year later.Australian bowlers being fit is what has made this result possible. It was the same in 2011 against India when they were spoilt for fast bowling options. The series in South Africa will be very interesting if Australia's batting can measure up to Steyn Morkel and Philander

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 12:44 GMT)

Hahaha...what a joke this is by Wato! Be careful not having to eat your words after the upcoming SA tour because I still think AUS is too vulnerable at the top and not always will your tail wag. SA is not the walk over ENG was, so let us see if "Aus will be fun again" after that.

Posted by Springbok111 on (January 6, 2014, 12:30 GMT)

I watched his post match interview in which he claimed these three bowlers are the best attack in the world. Please! After a very bad year for Australia with one good series at the end against England (who are not good right now) you come to that conclusion?

Give me a break!

Posted by Matt.au on (January 6, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

Posted by Madan Shivakumar on (January 6, 2014, 10:47 GMT) oh come on watto! never thought that u would do this publicity stunt! I still remember the previous ashes series on England where lehmann was absolutely frustrated with how the Aussies were batting and he even said that careers would be on the line before a particular match!

Madan, have you heard of Khawaja, Hughes, Agar, Cowan?

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 12:04 GMT)

We are all very excited with succeful series win. But we are going to face a very strong opponent in SA. Our top order is still a concern. Hope Darren is looking seriously into that.

Posted by Clyde on (January 6, 2014, 11:54 GMT)

Congratulations on this exceptionally revealing article, perhaps the most useful I have seen in the bringing back of the game into cricket.

Posted by premendrasinghal on (January 6, 2014, 11:45 GMT)

Its your home man. Lets see how it goes in South Africa. India had performed well despite a young inexperience team and weaker bowling attack although they lost in their last match. Now without Kallis they wont be in that threatening but still it their home. All the best.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 11:39 GMT)

all credit goes to mitchell johnson and nathan lyon,happy to see an effective australian spin attack after warnies retirement

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 11:29 GMT)

Yes. Australia has won. They have played well during entire series uniformly. The same Australia and the same coach Lehman lost their cool when they were squarely beaten in England few months back. May be for the first time a coach has been fined for improper comment. No coach was ever found requesting his people back at home to boo Broad when they tour down under. In any sports, success or loss should be taken equally. Australia does not have sporting mind. If they had, their press would have said that Australia lost last home series Ashes was lost because they did not resort to sledging. The mighty W I was unstoppable once. When they have getting defeats after defeats, they did not resort to this kind of abuse. They were gentlemen cricketers unlike the unsporting Aussies. Yet the game of cricket is great.

Posted by savadnkani on (January 6, 2014, 11:17 GMT)

It'd be interesting to throw light on Lehmann's past, now. I'm not sure how many of us note that he was with Warne when the Rajasthan Royals turned out to be the dark horse in IPL1, then he coached Deccan Chargers to grab IPL2. And I guess, he was with Steve Wough and Ponting, or you may say, with Buchanan, when the Aussies lifted the World Cup more than once. Hats off, Darren Lehmann!

Posted by Jeeves_ on (January 6, 2014, 11:14 GMT)

A settled team. 5 tests in a row without a change. That's creating a winning culture. Like the good old days. Just look at the confusion before this particular test series. No consistency.

Posted by android_user on (January 6, 2014, 10:47 GMT)

oh come on watto! never thought that u would do this publicity stunt! I still remember the previous ashes series on England where lehmann was absolutely frustrated with how the Aussies were batting and he even said that careers would be on the line before a particular match! added to that he made such strong statements about broad and urged Aussie supporters to make him cry ! if this is what you call fun then I'm laughing my heart out! honestly aus can't be very happy about this whitewash because eng was well short on resources and spirits in this series and it showed... had it not been for Mitch s revival who knows? so don't start praising your team sky high already...prove your mettle in SA and then talk!

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 10:45 GMT)

It is astonishing the average team did very well to regain the ashes ,for quite some time the Australian team was going in par with so many teams which is almost no say in in test cricket. The coach also contributed a lot in this mission. The Australian cricket authorities did one good thing to remove the former coach Micky Author so that , the players can play with ease

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 10:23 GMT)

I don't think Lehmann has so much to do with the success, rather than the Poms thinking they just have to pitch up to win; maybe a combination of the two. Anderson forgot how to swing a new cricket ball - the Poms was without their biggest bowling weapon (thank goodness Stuart Broad remembered this is his type of wickets). And surprise surprise, Mitch [Magnum] Johnson had been rebooted and formatted; and Australia had THEIR biggest bowling weapon back. To win Test matches you have to take 20 wickets. And the proof was in the pudding (Aus Bowling) Aus DID win under Arthur - they were EXTREMELY competitive against South Africa a year ago - in fact, they were unlucky to loose that series. I do think modern cricketers (some of them) want things too easy. If cricket is not FUN (read: when we win), they just give up in some way. Your bottle shows in the down times... How will England come back from this one? In reality: it was their first bad tour in months! Just throw the egos away...

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 10:19 GMT)

the situation in the australian dressing room under micky arthur was almost similar to that in india under guru greg and under lehmann it looks like how the indian tam gelled and flourished under gary kirsten amit

Posted by spindizzy on (January 6, 2014, 10:17 GMT)

I've criticised Watson plenty in the past but I think he's totally right about this. The previous two coaches wanted to be corporate managing directors, not coaches. It mostly doesn't work in the corporate world and it certainly doesn't work for a sporting team. I think Lehman has exactly the right attitude to coach an Australian team and he's letting Clarke be the captain he wants to be, assisting him where appropriate. Australia are on a good path and can develop a great team from here, just keep it simple.

Posted by disco_bob on (January 6, 2014, 10:16 GMT)

Lehman also made watching Australia fun again.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 10:16 GMT)

Australia's (and Lehmann's) litmus test will be the short series with South Africa. Too early to ascribe the success to Lehmann's taking over as coach

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 10:06 GMT)

australia are back in winning ways...............their team is well set....they shld now concenterate in d subcontinent

Posted by JustIPL on (January 6, 2014, 9:59 GMT)

One good wicket taking bowler changes the complexion of the whole team. Johnson added that flare and whole team gelled around it. Mitch decimated the pitch both in india and auss and the batsmen were found hopping around. Aussie batting also came together after a long time as Rogers provided assurances at the top and he has been the man aussie selectors overlooked so many times in the past while he is extremely capable. Smith also provided reliable bat. As aussie bowling looks assured and better than SA, no 1 test ranking is just around the corner unless india have another home series under the carpet.

Posted by vsroc on (January 6, 2014, 9:54 GMT)

Posted by Venkat Sraman on (January 6,2014) It was an extraordinary effort by the Australian cricket team against England in the recent test series that enabled them to outplay the opponent thoroughly to make it a clean sweep.This must be a memorable series for Australia after their demoralising defeat to England in the Ashes series of the last summer.This result was an expected one after foolish behaviour of certain English cricketers in front of their own pitch immediately after their series win in England.This Ashes whitewash may be a good lesson for England players.Mitchell Johnson,who made the difference between the two sides, returned to their side with a remarkable comeback.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 9:50 GMT)

I wonder if Andy Flower or anyone in the England camp has read this article. It might go some way to explaining what is wrong with England.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 9:39 GMT)

it's always fun when you win, not so much so when you loose ...

Posted by csr11 on (January 6, 2014, 9:38 GMT)

watson, should also consider himself lucky that he is still in the team. It is a fact that his batting does not do justice to his No.3 position in the lineup and he would do well to work on it. that said he retains this uncanny knack of taking wickets at crucial junctures and maybe thats why his spot in the team stays secure. Australia's batting remains its Achilles heel and the No.3 and No.6 would be key areas of improvement if they want to beat SA in SA. That said, who can deny the change that Boof seems to have bought about. the joy is vissible in the aussies and it has been a joy to watch for the spectators

Posted by android_user on (January 6, 2014, 9:29 GMT)

of course its fun when you start winning. im afraid none of these australians play for the team they play just for fame. they all run and hide when they lose but winning they go around bragging

Posted by MightyOne on (January 6, 2014, 9:23 GMT)

Watto wants us to believe that his stand was principled when things were bad under Arthur, when to me it smacked of laziness and disconnect from his captain and teammates. "Lehmann reduced the tension in the air, while at the same time encouraging his players to be themselves." This, in Watson's case was a hit-and-giggle hundred in the second innings of a game Aus were already in full control of, and what else this series? Smith, Haddin, Rogers (to a degree) and the bowlers had standout series. Watson remains a passenger - is it any wonder he enjoys it more when the wagon he's hitched to is winning?

Posted by muzika_tchaikovskogo on (January 6, 2014, 9:22 GMT)

A lot of people seem to be forgetting that the Australians under Mickey Arthur whitewashed the Indians 4-0 in 2011-12 and Sri Lankans 3-0 in 2012-13, not to mention the home series against South Africa in 2012-13, which they largely dominated. How far they have developed under Lehmann will be known only when they step out of familiar territory.

Posted by Ravi1438 on (January 6, 2014, 9:09 GMT)

Now australia looks good and well performed...

Posted by C.Gull on (January 6, 2014, 9:05 GMT)

Of course, all was not well in the Aussie camp prior to Arthur's appointment. I wonder if the team had to hit rock bottom, which it did with Arthur's help, for it to bounce back so dramatically under Lehman's leadership? Just a random thought.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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