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June 30, 2013
A "clean slate" under the Darren Lehmann regime and centre-wicket nets mean David Warner remains in serious contention for the first Investec Ashes Test. Peter Siddle, however, has more to do after Lehmann said he would not accept senior players coasting through tour matches.
Warner, who is currently suspended for throwing a punch at England's Joe Root, was a consistently early arrival at Taunton's County Ground for use of the practice pitches before play, meeting the training standards Lehmann said he will expect from here on. His poor disciplinary record under the former coach Mickey Arthur does not bother Lehmann, so long as Warner does not relapse.
"Very much so a clean slate," Lehmann said. "We can't control what's happened in the past. We've just got to worry about the future and make sure he gets enough nets and then comes into consideration like everyone else. That's all we can do.
"We were lucky enough the facilities that we've had centre wickets every day and he's been the first there and last to leave, so I've been pretty happy with his preparation and what he's trying to get out of what he can do without playing a game.
"I don't know what's happened in the past, so for me he's got to do that. And he's not the only one, everyone in the squad's got to train that way, we want to train as hard as we can and be the best we can be at training, and then transfer that into the games."
Lehmann's attitude to training and warm-up matches also applies to his fast bowlers. While James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc were close to their speedy, swinging best against Somerset, Siddle gave the overall impression of saving his top level for Trent Bridge.
In this, he reflected the bowling of Merv Hughes early on the 1993 tour, when he roared into life at Old Trafford having taken barely a wicket beforehand.
Lehmann said he expected more, particularly if it is decided to give Siddle more overs against Worcestershire. "We'll see whether he plays or doesn't play in Worcester, the main thing for him is making sure he's ready to go," Lehmann said.
"Bowlers are a different species at the best of times, mentally and physically, but for me it's a case of making sure they play the best they can each game. We want him to bowl well each and every time, whether it's a tour game or a Test match, and he knows that."
Australia's players were given a day off in Worcester on Sunday ahead of training Monday and their final pre-Ashes match on Tuesday. Michael Clarke will play again as he chases additional match conditioning. So too Shane Watson, who will bowl at New Road after the selection of four other pacemen kept him from rolling his arm over at Taunton.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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