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July 15, 2013
Even in the midst of a defeat that will sting as much as any in recent Ashes memory, Darren Lehmann and Australia had reason not to get too wrapped up in grief about a game of cricket. On the fourth evening of the Test match word went around the team, and others in Nottingham, that Jason Gillespie's father Neil had died while visiting his son and their family in Leeds.
This was sobering news for Lehmann, a close friend of Gillespie's since their days playing together with South Australia and then the national side. It also offered a reminder of why Lehmann has pushed for his players to be balanced in their lives, and why a narrow loss at Trent Bridge should not be carried too heavily with them on the journey down to London.
"Try to relax at the right times is our motto," Lehmann said. "We want to have fun. It's a game of cricket. After the game [on Saturday night] I spoke to one of my great mates, Jason Gillespie, who lost his father yesterday. That puts things in a bit of perspective. So we're playing a game, yes it's a big Ashes series, but as we talk about all the time there's a bit more important things that go on than a game of cricket.
"We like to relax and be quite comfortable around everyone and hopefully the guys have been respectful of you guys and helpful. That's a big thing for us. But when we play our cricket we want to play it hard and fair. There's all other things other things outside."
Not letting the memories of Nottingham loom too large over the second Test will be critical to Australia's chances of levelling the series at Lord's. Lehmann said his years in the game had taught him to hang on to anything positive that may be gained from a painful defeat while discarding the rest. Memories of Peter Siddle, Ashton Agar, Phillip Hughes and Brad Haddin will provide some sort of sustenance when training resumes on Tuesday.
"It was a fantastic game of cricket for everyone to watch," Lehmann said. "It would have been nice to get the other runs but we didn't get them so we've got to bounce back quickly and come Thursday play a good brand of cricket again, a nice attacking brand. There's a lot of positives for us out of that game. So moving forward, no dramas in getting the lads ready. Have a day or an afternoon off, head down to London and away we go again."
Lehmann's first Test as Australia's coach will never be forgotten and it was clear that he lived every ball with his players, whether beaming at Agar's efforts or cursing Stuart Broad's unjust reprieve. "It was tense, wasn't it? It was tense Test match cricket," he said. "That's why the players play the game. It's probably worse for us sitting back watching to be perfectly honest. It's a lot easier for the guys out there, the fielders and the batters. For us it's always tense."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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