England v Australia, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 2nd day July 19, 2013

Lehmann slams self-inflicted damage


Australia's coach Darren Lehmann has conceded the batting inadequacies on such gaudy display at Lord's will take time to be rectified, not only within the Test team but at the domestic levels beneath. Lehmann spoke frankly of his side's abject slide from 42 for 0 to 128 all out, saying he had criticised the team heavily within the dressing room. He also revealed Shane Watson's wrong-headed referral of his lbw, the day's obvious pivot point, had been triggered by his partner Chris Rogers.

Across the day television cameras panned often to Lehmann, not least because he has chosen to listen to the commentary on radio. At Trent Bridge he had made his disgust plain when decisions went against his side, but here he offered expressions apparently drawn from the phrase "if you didn't laugh, you'd cry". But he was plain in his distaste for the way Australia had batted, giving up virtually all their pretensions as Ashes challenges in the space of little more than a session. Asked whether he had read the riot act to his players, Lehmann replied: "Yep. Done and dusted. That will stay in the rooms."

"The top order failed again and we need to make sure we're learning from our mistakes and probably haven't done that from the first innings at Notts to the first innings here," Lehmann said. "We showed glimpses but we've got to bat better. It was more one-day batting than Test match batting. We know we have to improve our batting over periods of time and bat a lot more than 55 overs. We believe the plans are right. Our shot selection was poor today. Simple as that. I think eight out of the 10 were self-inflicted to be perfectly honest."

Since his appointment Lehmann has spoken often of letting his players express themselves on the field, but not without certain boundaries. The issues witnessed at Lord's, from another squandered start by Watson to panicked shots by Usman Khawaja and Phillip Hughes, have also been glimpsed plentifully in Australian domestic matches, particularly now that the Sheffield Shield has been splintered by the dominance of the Big Bash League.

"There's freedom but there's also rules within that, and at the moment we're not following them as a batting group," Lehmann said. "Some of the shots today were certainly not what we talk about and using match awareness is the biggest thing for us, and making sure we're playing them at the right time in the right circumstances.

"Domestic level we haven't made enough hundreds either. Batting time is hard work and you see the England players have had a lot of hundreds in their top five. It's going to take time for the players to trust and believe they belong at this level. They certainly have all the attributes to play at this level, there's no doubt about that. It's the execution and the match awareness. All state coaches would be saying the same thing about how to play long innings because in state cricket we don't have too many of those either."

As for the fraught use of the DRS, which had the domino effect of clouding Rogers' thinking after wrongly approving Watson's decision to refer his lbw so the left-hander did not review his own dismissal, a freak departure to a Graeme Swann full toss that was sliding past leg stump.

"Bucky Rogers got that wrong with Shane, he told Shane to take it," Lehmann said. "That's just the way it goes sometimes, and then he should have used one on himself but he probably didn't want to after wasting one. As long as they learn from it that's the thing. We've certainly got the bowling side of it right with the referrals. Now the batters have to get that right."

"I think he's close to having a big score, but I don't want to keep saying that either to be perfectly honest," Lehmann said. "We want him to make big scores. He's a very good player and we've had a couple of good starts to be fair, 0 for 84 in the second innings of Notts and 0 for 42 here. We should be making big runs from there, a lot more than 128."

As for how Australia can improve, they need look no further than Ian Bell, twice already a centurion in this series. "He just stays within his limitations doesn't he," Lehmann said. "That's Test matching batting at its best."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 20, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    mickey arthur will be smiling.....arthur was not the problem...clarke is...he's a good batsman but not a good leader...australia could still have used m hussey, ponting, katich for this ashes campaign and they would have been much better than 128 all out..

  • Umair on July 20, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    I believe batting problem starts from not having specialist openers & one down position as well...I don't understand what is the point to have two all-rounders in test cricket like ASHES...I would say poor team selection...!

  • shalal on July 20, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    I sometimes wonder if teams dont enforce the follow on because of some perverse commercial interest. If England enforced the follow on and won within 3 days -a lot of refunds for Sunday and Monday!As it stands at the moment England would declare towards end of third day or be bowled out being approx 500 ahead. And we would see a pointless finale with only one possible winner

  • matt on July 20, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    Far to much T20 Cricket it's boring and its just a money grab stick to ODI and Test and ever now and then play a few T20s.You can see the players struggle with any form of decent pitch with movement there getting to used to playing on flat roads made for batting..As for the Australian Batting team apart from Clarke i think there is room for at least mmm 4 changes,How about Shaun Marsh George Bailey Doolan or Joe Burns Nick Maddison Mitchel Marsh Luke Butterworth plays very well in big games and many more good bats coasting around Australia i would say C Ferguson but they left the poor bugger out that long after his knee injury they have ruined him,,

  • Vaidy on July 20, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    I think the problem squarely lies in the fact that players are being shunted up and down without any sense or purpose. Mate, this is test cricket, NOT ODI or T20 - okay?

    Also, players need to be clearly told what role they are going to be playing - each chap doesnt seem to know which position he will bat in in the next match?!

    A (Aussie) winter clean up is highly the need of the hour and bring in proper position players for each position. I cannot imagine a no. 3 playing a shot like that one Ussie played. What was he thinking? He has played all of 6 matches and a half! He did not show his hunger to make his stay talk the talk. How many chances are the Hugheses and Khawajas going to get? I am fed up.

  • Afsar on July 20, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    It was very painful to watch Australia's batting collapse, especially when Australia knew how crucial the second day at Lord's was for them to turn around the test match in their favour. The whole team stumbled into pressure. Many can easily argue that Australia is currently missing experienced campaigners like Ponting and Hussey. But the problem behind Australia's batting collapse lies more into the lack of some basic mindsets required for test match only. In order to settle themselves, the batsmen need to get out of any pressure to score. The best way to handle the bowling pressure is to give as many dot balls as you wish. You may think it funny. Look at Ian Bell, how many dot balls he produced at the beginning of his innings to allow himself to settle and the reward was a match-turning century. How many times we have seen Rahul Dravid, one of the best test batsmen we have seen in recent times, to give away maiden overs one after another at the start of his innings.

  • Chris on July 20, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    sadly Australia has only been in this contest at all because England are playing so far below their best. the biggest concern for Australia at the moment is Clarke, how long before this destroys his form? 12 month ago he was in the best form of his career, a purple patch that I dare say he will never see again. single handed he almost upset the South Africans. I personally reckon that it is rarely ideal to have your best player as your captain ex Richards, Lara, Tendulkar, better to let them concentrate on what they do best for the team. who do we replace him with? that is the million dollar question

  • Dummy4 on July 20, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    "He also revealed Shane Watson's wrong-headed referral of his lbw, the day's obvious pivot point, had been triggered by his partner Chris Rogers."

    Nope - you're just hanging him out to dry, Boof, while you continue to support Cricket Australia's love affair with Watson, who should have been cast aside years ago - as he would have been 20 years ago. Tom Moody was a far better player but never had the longevity in the Test team that he deserved.

  • Martin on July 20, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    @sachin_vvsfan (July 20, 2013, 7:52 GMT) point taken. But you know - there are a lot of your countrymen circling like vultures above these Ashes forums posting caustic trouble making comments. I do reserve the right to rebut them if required. You though are a thoroughly decent poster and I applaud you. peace.

  • Dummy4 on July 20, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    Has the performance of the Australian Test got anything to do with Argus Review?.Its gone from bad to worse!!