The Investec Ashes 2013 July 29, 2013

Lehmann defends absence of specialist spin coach

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Australia's coach Darren Lehmann has defended the ongoing absence of a former bowler as a specialist spin coach in the Australian setup despite the fact that Ashton Agar and Nathan Lyon are still learning their trade. Australia travel to Manchester on Monday and what they see from the Old Trafford pitch will go a long way to determine whether both Lyon and Agar play, on a surface on which England may well use Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar in tandem.

But the Australian pair collectively managed only 2 for 165 in their tour match against Sussex, although both Agar and Lyon also had catches put down that would have increased their wickets tally. Lyon was too predictable early in the match and was taken to by Rory Hamilton-Brown, but he improved his drift and dip later in the game, while Agar found a few edges against the right-handed batsmen but did little to suggest any major improvements had been made.

Agar, 19, was playing only his 13th first-class match since making his debut in January and Lyon, 25, is still learning after just over two years on the first-class scene. But despite the large number of off-field staff employed by Cricket Australia on tours, there has been no specialist spin coach outside of Steve Rixon, the fielding mentor, who also doubles as a spin coach and talks the bowlers through things like how to bowl to certain fields.

However, while the Australians played in Hove, Rixon was in London working with the batsmen Shane Watson and Chris Rogers, leaving Agar and Lyon in the hands of Lehmann and bowling coach Ali de Winter, a former seamer. Lehmann said coaching spin at Test level was as much about working on plans as anything technical.

"We obviously call on Warnie a bit," Lehmann said. "We'd be mad not to use Shane Warne and talk spin bowling to him. It's not so much technical with him, it's more about the mental side of it, the fields you want for certain players. We use everyone. We don't want too many views. We want to keep it channelled for a young kid. He [Agar] is only 19 but he goes well.

"Steve Rixon is our specialist spin coach and fielding coach so he does that. Working with him on how to get blokes out is pretty much my domain as head coach. I know how you're going to get all the England players out. That's an easy one. We've just got to execute our plans for it, and I think we've done that pretty well over a period of time.

"Ashton probably not so much last Test match but I'm really confident with our plans. We'd be mad to pick him [Agar] if we didn't think he was technically up to it. He's 19, I'd hope he has plenty of room for improvement, the same as Nathan, they're both young kids, although Nathan's played a lot more. They've both got room for improvement."

Lyon was overlooked for the first two Tests as Australia went with Agar instead and while Agar made headlines for his 98 in the first Test at Trent Bridge, his bowling has been less noteworthy. He has created more chances than his two wickets at 124.00 would indicate, but has been nowhere near as threatening as Lyon has for large chunks of his Test career, which has brought him 76 victims at 33.18.

"Would we have this discussion if he'd ended up with three or four at Notts?" Lehmann said of Agar. "Maybe not. But that wasn't meant to be. Things go your way and some things don't. I was impressed with the way he bowled at Notts. I thought he bowled quite well. He had a problem with his hip in the second Test and struggled through that. But he knows he didn't bowl well enough, not the standard we're after so he needs to get it right pretty quickly, we know that.


"You would like more wickets [against Sussex]. I would have hoped to bowl them out under 300 so that was probably the only thing. But having said that it didn't spin too much. Monty got a couple of wickets but didn't get any [in the second innings] so it's not a great track for spin, whereas Old Trafford, I think, it will spin. We need him to perform."

While a dual spin attack is a possibility if the pitch suits it, Australia also have questions over the make-up of their batting order after being bowled out cheaply in both innings at Lord's. David Warner will rejoin the squad after scoring 193 for Australia A against South Africa A in Pretoria, an innings of greater note than any played by the Australian batsmen in Sussex, although Lehmann said that would not guarantee him a place in the side.

"He got 193 and played well, did exactly what we wanted him to do," Lehmann said. "We want blokes to make hundreds and he's ticked that box. Again, we'll have to look at the wicket and what we come up with in the top six. He could bat anywhere from one to six."

Lehmann also defended the decision to leave Rogers and Watson in London to work in the nets rather than playing in Hove, and said he was more keen for the other members of the squad to have a hit in match conditions. Phillip Hughes and Ed Cowan made half-centuries in the first innings against Sussex without going on to triple figures, and Lehmann said it was disappointing that they had not taken the opportunity.

"I would have liked them both to make big hundreds," he said. "When you get in that scenario you should be making big hundreds but they know that, we spoke about that. But they played well and got through some tough times."

Australia will train at Old Trafford on Tuesday and Wednesday, ahead of the third Test, which they must win to keep the series alive.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Greatest_Game on July 30, 2013, 2:35 GMT

    Warner's century in SA is of absolutely no relevance. In three innings the teams scored 1342 for 18, an ave of 74.56. If Warner had been knocking out centuries like this SA road rampage, Aus would not have eked out 1365 for 60, ave 22.75, in SIX test innings! Warner's ave for his other 3 African knocks is 16.66. He scored 6 and 11 against Zimbabwe! 1342 is 79 more than Warner scored in 34 Test innings, 209 more than he scored in 38 ODI innings, & 136 more than he scored in 44 T20 innings.

    If sending a batsman to go & knock out runs against a 6th string attack on a winter track/road in Pretoria turned below average batsman into world beaters, then that's how SA would train their batsmen, & they would have the world's best! Ummm … maybe that's not the best example, but if you suspend reality & ignore the fact that SA do have the world's best batsmen, the point makes sense! It certainly makes more sense than recalling Warner, which truly requires the complete suspension of reality.

  • on July 29, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Lyon may not be a great spinner but he is our best spinner. He has to play. As for Warner, I have no doubt about his talent but he should never have become a regular Test player until he had proved that talent at 1st class level. He is still young, give him a season back at 1st class level too prove it (like Clarke, Hayden etc) and if he lives up to his enormous potential then bring him back. Currently we have players like Rogers, Katich, Hughes & Smith who can do the job just as well (not brilliantly) as Warner is.

  • cricket_ahan on July 31, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    @2MikeGattings and Arrow. How about a step further and having the fast men at the top of the batting order - they seem to be playing well against at least one new ball at the moment anyway? Siddle and Starc to open, following by Agar at 3 (he shouldn't open since he is probably too young).

  • Iddo555 on July 30, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    What happened to Doherty? Is he just one of many spinners given a test match and then thrown out? I'm English so I have to admit I haven't seen a great deal of him but he seemed to have something there to work with

  • 2MikeGattings on July 30, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    @Arrow While you're dreaming, how about Clarke having a bowl too? The best bowler on either side is Joe Root, 3 wickets @ 5 each.

  • H_Z_O on July 30, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    @Samdanh not only are we having a dry summer but the forecast was for a wetter one. I'd imagine that influenced the decisions over watering the pitches a lot more than any desire to prepare favourable pitches for England. In fact, the Lord's pitch should have played to Australia's strengths; it was a great batting wicket, and the bounce should have suited their quicker men. There wasn't a huge amount of turn on day 2; four of Swann's 5-fer were from poor batting.

    As for the pitches when India and South Africa toured, Lord's was its usual batting paradise both times. In fact, I'd argue the pitch against South Africa had a bit more in it. Both sides were bowled out twice for 1269 runs; when India toured 36 wickets fell for 1290 runs.

    The Oval tends to suit the spinners. Tahir took 4-124. Swann 0-151. It was just as spin-friendly when India toured; Raina took 2-59 on it. Mishra bowled awfully and that cost India. It spun in the Champions Trophy final too. And in the 2009 Ashes.

  • Arrow011 on July 30, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    Australia needs to go with 4 spinners, they are Warner, Steve Smith (Leg spin), Nathan Lyon (Off spin) & Ashton Agar (Left arm spinner). The vegetarian paceman Peter Siddle (The best bowler in both the teams), Shane Watson & the hefty Ryan Harris. Way to go Aussies, do or die, give a fight with spin.

  • shillingsworth on July 30, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    @Samdanh - There are no 'doctored turners', nor are pitches 'made to order' - it's been a dry summer. The tracks for South Africa were no flatter than for India's visit the year before. South Africa played markedly better on them. No England player 'cribbed' about conditions in either the UAE or India. There are no 'doctored turners' or pitches 'made to order' in these countries either, just surfaces on which the home team is used to playing, which is as it should be. Mr Khawaja doesn't agree with you about Australian pitches, but you obviously know better than him! The idea that Australian pitches didn't suit the home team in the past is ridiculous. Home advantage is part of the game everywhere.

  • on July 30, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    All Australia needs is to control Watson's and Warner's attitude,,, And anyways Aus has nothing to lose in next test,, so they can be dangerous for England

  • Samdanh on July 30, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    @Clarke501. If Eng has batsmen and the bowlers to prosper on whatever pitch then why these doctored turners that spin from day 2? Will Eng lay out such pitches when any sub continent team visits England, given that Eng has bowlers who can prosper in any conditions? It is no more news that Eng tried flat tracks to negate SA fast bowlers when SA toured Eng last but despite having bowlers who could prosper whatever the pitch conditions, Eng lost royally under the batting and bowling onslaught of SA. Nowhere to hide! Eng cribbed when they lost 3-0 to Pak in UAE and when they lost the first Test in India. Aus pitches still carry traditional characteristics. Nothing made to order like it is happening now in England. Home advantage. That is absolutely well said and correct

  • Greatest_Game on July 30, 2013, 2:35 GMT

    Warner's century in SA is of absolutely no relevance. In three innings the teams scored 1342 for 18, an ave of 74.56. If Warner had been knocking out centuries like this SA road rampage, Aus would not have eked out 1365 for 60, ave 22.75, in SIX test innings! Warner's ave for his other 3 African knocks is 16.66. He scored 6 and 11 against Zimbabwe! 1342 is 79 more than Warner scored in 34 Test innings, 209 more than he scored in 38 ODI innings, & 136 more than he scored in 44 T20 innings.

    If sending a batsman to go & knock out runs against a 6th string attack on a winter track/road in Pretoria turned below average batsman into world beaters, then that's how SA would train their batsmen, & they would have the world's best! Ummm … maybe that's not the best example, but if you suspend reality & ignore the fact that SA do have the world's best batsmen, the point makes sense! It certainly makes more sense than recalling Warner, which truly requires the complete suspension of reality.

  • on July 29, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Lyon may not be a great spinner but he is our best spinner. He has to play. As for Warner, I have no doubt about his talent but he should never have become a regular Test player until he had proved that talent at 1st class level. He is still young, give him a season back at 1st class level too prove it (like Clarke, Hayden etc) and if he lives up to his enormous potential then bring him back. Currently we have players like Rogers, Katich, Hughes & Smith who can do the job just as well (not brilliantly) as Warner is.

  • cricket_ahan on July 31, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    @2MikeGattings and Arrow. How about a step further and having the fast men at the top of the batting order - they seem to be playing well against at least one new ball at the moment anyway? Siddle and Starc to open, following by Agar at 3 (he shouldn't open since he is probably too young).

  • Iddo555 on July 30, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    What happened to Doherty? Is he just one of many spinners given a test match and then thrown out? I'm English so I have to admit I haven't seen a great deal of him but he seemed to have something there to work with

  • 2MikeGattings on July 30, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    @Arrow While you're dreaming, how about Clarke having a bowl too? The best bowler on either side is Joe Root, 3 wickets @ 5 each.

  • H_Z_O on July 30, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    @Samdanh not only are we having a dry summer but the forecast was for a wetter one. I'd imagine that influenced the decisions over watering the pitches a lot more than any desire to prepare favourable pitches for England. In fact, the Lord's pitch should have played to Australia's strengths; it was a great batting wicket, and the bounce should have suited their quicker men. There wasn't a huge amount of turn on day 2; four of Swann's 5-fer were from poor batting.

    As for the pitches when India and South Africa toured, Lord's was its usual batting paradise both times. In fact, I'd argue the pitch against South Africa had a bit more in it. Both sides were bowled out twice for 1269 runs; when India toured 36 wickets fell for 1290 runs.

    The Oval tends to suit the spinners. Tahir took 4-124. Swann 0-151. It was just as spin-friendly when India toured; Raina took 2-59 on it. Mishra bowled awfully and that cost India. It spun in the Champions Trophy final too. And in the 2009 Ashes.

  • Arrow011 on July 30, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    Australia needs to go with 4 spinners, they are Warner, Steve Smith (Leg spin), Nathan Lyon (Off spin) & Ashton Agar (Left arm spinner). The vegetarian paceman Peter Siddle (The best bowler in both the teams), Shane Watson & the hefty Ryan Harris. Way to go Aussies, do or die, give a fight with spin.

  • shillingsworth on July 30, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    @Samdanh - There are no 'doctored turners', nor are pitches 'made to order' - it's been a dry summer. The tracks for South Africa were no flatter than for India's visit the year before. South Africa played markedly better on them. No England player 'cribbed' about conditions in either the UAE or India. There are no 'doctored turners' or pitches 'made to order' in these countries either, just surfaces on which the home team is used to playing, which is as it should be. Mr Khawaja doesn't agree with you about Australian pitches, but you obviously know better than him! The idea that Australian pitches didn't suit the home team in the past is ridiculous. Home advantage is part of the game everywhere.

  • on July 30, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    All Australia needs is to control Watson's and Warner's attitude,,, And anyways Aus has nothing to lose in next test,, so they can be dangerous for England

  • Samdanh on July 30, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    @Clarke501. If Eng has batsmen and the bowlers to prosper on whatever pitch then why these doctored turners that spin from day 2? Will Eng lay out such pitches when any sub continent team visits England, given that Eng has bowlers who can prosper in any conditions? It is no more news that Eng tried flat tracks to negate SA fast bowlers when SA toured Eng last but despite having bowlers who could prosper whatever the pitch conditions, Eng lost royally under the batting and bowling onslaught of SA. Nowhere to hide! Eng cribbed when they lost 3-0 to Pak in UAE and when they lost the first Test in India. Aus pitches still carry traditional characteristics. Nothing made to order like it is happening now in England. Home advantage. That is absolutely well said and correct

  • 158notout on July 30, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    more worrying than the non-selection of Ahmed which I am not sure would be a great idea - 4 poor spinners don't make a decent spinner - was the fact that Ashton Turner had to be drafted in simply to make up the numbers because they left half the swuad twiddling their thumbs around Britain. Surely at least one of those that didn't play could of padded-up for this game - Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin carried drinks for petes sake.

  • on July 30, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    i think david warner will get chance at any cost because of 193 runs against S.africa A.lyon and agar will bowl well because the pitch at Old Trafford will turn a lot.and they have to think about simon katich come back, because he is quite experience. darren lehman has to used shane warne at any cost for lyon and agar both are young. Why didn't they give Fawad Ahmed a go .he is quite experience ,in place of a batsman .

  • shillingsworth on July 30, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    @MichealT - Agree that England's batsmen play all sorts of bowling well, as their records indicate. The supposed weakness against all leg spinners is a myth. As you say, it helps even the best wrist spinner if he has something to bowl at.

    @Deepak Madhavan - Smith's wickets against England have cost over 50 runs each. Your point is?

    @Samdanh - It's called home advantage. There never has been anything wrong with that. The suggestion that there is no such advantage to Australia and South Africa is ridiculous. The 'moisture ridden green pastures' are something of a myth. In recent years, modern drainage systems at test grounds have resulted in much drier surfaces. England currently have the bowlers to prosper whatever the pitch. I hear no 'cribbing' from any England player.

  • glennaki on July 30, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    Just a query with the Australian selections for the game just gone against Sussex. Good to see Nathon Lyon get a go and have a few overs. But seriously, what was the purpose of Ashton Turner's selection? Was he going to be picked for the Third Test. Is he ripping through sides in his minor counties games? ( The answer to both these is no). Why didn't they give Fawad Ahmed a go? If its good enough to send Dave Warner over to S.A. to get some runs, why not send Ahmed over to England for a game. He is a leg spinner which would add a bit of variety to our attack, and may expose a weakness of the English batsman to leg spin, instead of bowling left arm orthodox bowlers, or off spin bowlers to the English batsmen, which is their bread and butter. Just a thought.

  • Green_and_Gold on July 30, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    @BillyCC: Disagree with you statement - Lehmann will bring back the mongrel in the side and get them enjoying cricket - he will deliver his own form of discipline (such as dropping warner to the Aus A side to get runs). He has an honesty about him that was lacking in other coaches. I think he will do fine if hes given a proper run. He doesent have super stars to work with but there is a team of young talented blokes in the side and the state competition that he has to call upon and turn into quality players.

  • Flash_hard27 on July 30, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Lyon is only 25! He looks about 35, I honestly thought he was coming to the end of his career not just starting.

    That must make being dropped for Agar even more painful.

  • BillyCC on July 30, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Lehmann as a coach is completely unravelling. It's all very well to be a great bloke. But this team needs discipline, not fun. Australia just don't have the talent and so you need to compensate with extra discipline. Arthur had the right idea, Lehmann is going to set back this team by about five years.

  • spinout on July 30, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    The problem I have with Shane Warne is that he is a legspinner and our players are offspinners. I'm happy for Warnie to talk to Fawad, but I really think we should get Tim May or possibly import an Indian offspinner to coach the current offspinners. Ever since Warne retired there has been a lot of talk about putting plans into place for the next spinner but nothing has been done. We have no coach, there has been nothing done about getting better pitches for spinners or coaching clinics for spinners. Hey, they hardly get a bowl at Shield level. And as for Pat Howard, can someone please appeal for LBW, then perhaps we can get a real cricketer at the wicket.

  • Arrow011 on July 30, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    Australians & English cricket boards still do not recognise 'Doosra' or the carrom ball in spinners but they encourage sling arm bowlers & semi chuckers like Akthar, no wonder spin after Shane Warne has died in Australia. In England also spin is not well encouraged, spin needs tact, more brain application than pace bowling & the escape route is by creating pace pitches. But for the Indian sub-continent spinners would be extinct in the near future as there are no major spin bowlers out side of the sub continent except Greame Swann. World's top 3 wicket takers are spinners Murli, Warne & Kumble it is time spinners are encouraged more as they also fall less to injuries. It is lot more entertaining to watch a spinner than a paceman bowling, besides spinners are more handy as batsmen too.

  • Samdanh on July 30, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    England has joined the bandwagon of countries that prepare pitches to negate opposition strengths and give an edge to hosts to strengths. So they can no longer crib when travelling to 2 sub continent countries-India and SL in future, now that there are no matches in Pak. By retaining pitch conditions that existed when India toured England last, Eng's series scoreline could have been more close than what could be the case at the end of this series, where pitches start helping spinners from day 2. But I am sure they will not dare to lay out such pitches when SL, Pak or India tour them. It will be moisture ridden green pastures. Now only Australia, and to some extent, South Africa remain to be countries that do not doctor pitches

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 30, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    For years now, Australian spinner have tended to last about half an Ashes series before being dropped for good. For years, in the mist of Australia's lack of any decent spinner (along the way declaring that turning the ball for a spinner wasn't completely essential), England have had the champion Graeme Swann. And now - the situation hasn't changed, it's only got even stronger. Swann runs through Australia like a butter knife, his skills unmatched, his quality undisputed. For years Australia have been saying 'We wish we had a Swann like England'. Years later, this still hasn't changed. Juts like in every other facet of the game, England are years ahead.

  • on July 30, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Why on earth is @Greatest_Game's totally irrelevant post in the features, surely you can do better Cricinfo?

    I don't know how much of a problem this, most spinners seem to have their own personal gurus that they turn to, though a five match series is pretty long to be without them if it all goes wrong. That said poor old Lyno hasn't bowled a ball yet and the chances continue to go down off our spinners anyway, which is really the bigger problem.

  • cricket_ahan on July 30, 2013, 3:09 GMT

    "We'd be mad not to use Shane Warne and talk spin bowling to him. It's not so much technical with him, it's more about the mental side of it, the fields you want for certain players." With a quote like this, is it any wonder why Aus is not skilful at spin bowling. Why the hell wouldn't you speak to arguably the greatest legspinner to play the game about the "technical" side of it. What more important thing does a developing spinner need??! Field setting are about containment and yes, they put pressure on the batsmen, but they mean diddly squat if the bowler doesn't know how to bowl to them. I couldn't believe this statement when I read it. Look at England - I'm sure Mushtaq Ahmed is advising Swann and Panesar about more than just "field placings". Good god ACB - no spin coach, and they wonder why they don't have a good spinner. Ludicrous!

  • on July 30, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    @jaggar Siddle, Pattinson both with test bowling avgs in the mid to high 20s not good? Faulkner with a FC average of 22 not good? Smith is a batsman but he can at least turn the ball and take handy wickets.. (4@20 i the last test and Tendulker in India)

    suffice to say id probably say Pattinson (Starc since his injured), Siddle, Harris, Bird is our best attack...

  • Natx on July 30, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    "Steve Rixon is our specialist spin coach". That sums up well on the mindset Aussies currently are at bowling or batting spin. Good luck!

  • Rowayton on July 30, 2013, 0:52 GMT

    Just reading through these, I see some strange comments. Sunil says khawaja is 'the perfect player coming in at number 3'. Blimey, that's a bit optimistic, isn't it? Now, I would tell UK he's there for the rest of the series, but I have no real confidence that he will actually do well. The English offies would have got him three times for 68 at Lords (Swann had him dropped before he got out).

  • funkybluesman on July 30, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    There is constant talk of "horses for courses" with the bowlers, but rarely the batsmen. If this is going to be a spinning pitch and England are going to take two spinners into the match, that should almost instantly mean bringing in Warner for Hughes. In the first innings of the first test, Hughes defense against Swann actually looked pretty good, but he seemed to have no idea how to play any sort of run-scoring stroke against him. He really needs to learn how to score runs against spinners or become a horses for courses batsman who never plays in spin-friendly conditions.

  • funkybluesman on July 30, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    If they play two spinners that pretty much rules Starc out, but both of those guys would love him to be in the side. In the first test Ashton had some footmarks to aim at against the right-handers, no such luxury in the second, while Swann could while away over after over throwing the thing into the footmarks outside the left-handers off stump.

    Hopefully the Aussies can win the toss and get a chance to bat first this time too. Obviously they have to bat better, but England clearly don't need the advantage of winning the toss and getting first use of a definite "bat-first" pitch!

  • on July 29, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    Neither Lyon nor Agar will make any difference to this English lineup. If the former is fit and latter is struggling to find any form with the ball & is constricted due to his hip injury, Nathan can be given the nod. I would like the captain and Smith to bowl more overs to make up for the deficit. Definitely go with 3 quicks. Bring in Warner and replace Rogers. He is too old and struggles against spin. Warner will take his chances but he cant be worse than both of our current openers. Because Watson bowls few useful overs, i would have him in the final XI. He was never a good enough batsman to play as an opener but then again he is technically better than Smith. Hughes can open.

  • maddy20 on July 29, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    Why not hire one the the three retired masters, Murali/Warne/Kumble? Things are getting really desperate. And if you hope to get wickets through Lyon, against guys who negotiated the likes of Ashwin, Ojha etc., then you can't be more delusional!

  • disco_bob on July 29, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    "We use everyone. We don't want too many views." Pretty well sums up the confused thinking in the Australian camp.

  • on July 29, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    They should hire Nathan Hauritz as spinning coach. He knew how to improve his action. :P

  • MichealT on July 29, 2013, 21:03 GMT

    @clarke501, I am not comparing Kaneria with Warne but he has 261 wickets in 62 matches which is about 4.3/match. Warne has more but he was not very succesful in South Asia. You also agree that good spinners take wickets when they have some good target to defend otherwise they can be taken easily. Australian were a champion side with so many good batsman and bowlers at that time besides some excellent fielders. India were themselves a champion batting side at their home. So these spinners flourish when they got good conditions. Now Kumble has 4.6w/match and Shane warne has 4.8w/match. Compared to Murali they are average sinners because he has 800/133 = 6.0/match. This England side is good against all form of bowling and even if you take Warne in your team they can still beat the Australian side easily unless you come up with the whole 90's Australian team.

  • Jagger on July 29, 2013, 19:53 GMT

    It used to be that if you don't have a good enough spinner you played 4 quicks and a batting all-rounder. Harris, Bird, Sayers... as a matter of fact we only have 3 good quicks and no batting all-rounder :(

  • on July 29, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    Living a few miles away from Old Trafford, let's just factor in one other factor. Whilst the pitch will have been covered and so should be fast and true (if all predictions are true), this week's heavy rain is turning the outfield a bit greener and lusher - the shine should stay on the ball quite a bit longer. 3 seamers, 1 spinner for each: just my guess

  • GrindAR on July 29, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    Take guards with open minds and play balls on merit. That's all Aussies need... Mainly don't blame umpires, if you held your catches right and appeals right and disciplined enough to scare umpires to keep them on their toes... good enough been done. Rest will follow. I mean don't give umpires to raise their fingers when you bat and don't sleep in the field to miss a 50% chances and gripe on it later... You have 5 days of your life to turn things around to justify the trust/faith put on you on behalf of your country. Give at-least a try to show that your are worth it. Nothing more can be said at this stage of the series.

  • Sunil_Batra on July 29, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    Flemingmitch you are a lucky guy getting to watch the ashes games and even warm up games live, i am hoping to go for the last few games as well but lets see if the series is alive at that stage, i am hoping we fight in this coming test match and we do have the players to do so. I haven't been impressed with Ahmed l from what I've seen so far, imran Tahir is a far more experienced bowler with greater credentials and England dealt with him comfortably so i think we should stick with Lyon, he is our best spin bowler, he may not be a real attacking threat but he's the best we have got. Although I'm sure it hasn't gone unnoticed that rory Hamilton brown absolutely destroyed him at hove. And agree with you on your batting, Rogers should not be replaced by Cowan and deserves another game to show his stuff, Khawaja is the perfect player coming in at 3 though he will have his work cut out against spin but i back him to come through like he did at lords for us. Smith with be key as well.

  • on July 29, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    Why not Xavier Doherty? Atleast bring some all rounders who can bowl spin

  • Flemo_Gilly on July 29, 2013, 18:39 GMT

    For me our batting order is becoming clearer. Rogers, Watson, Khawaja, Warner, Clarke, Smith in that order. Rogers and Watson deserve another test as opener and if one fails get Hughes to come in as opener. Khawaja is our best 3 and hopefully continues his form from Lords. Smith and Clarke will hold our middle order. However why is no one concerned that this bowling attack could not bowl out a County side in 100 overs? This is meant to be a possible test bowling attack yet Sussex were able to pass our first innings in relative comfort. I agree Bird needs to replace Starc, but its not an easy decision as Starc being left handed gives us variety and when on song he is a destuctive bowler. One thing is for sure and that is runs scored on the flat hove pitch won't count for much on a turning manchester pitch hence i am not taking too much notice of the runs scored there yesterday.

  • on July 29, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    Realistically, we should all have seen this one coming a mile off. Spinners will be to Australia what all-rounders were to England for the best part of a decade. Warne was a once-in-a-generation player, sorry to say. Just like Botham was. You will never fully replace him, so don't even try. You might get lucky 5-10 years down the line with a lesser-copy (ala Flintoff), but never the genuine article. Warne was a genius, and geniuses appear very, very rarely. Which is why we describe them as such.

  • wch77 on July 29, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    Lehmann on Warner: "He could bat anywhere from one to six." If that statement doesn't show how weak the team is I don't know. A test in a few days and the whole batting order has no idea where in the order it will be batting. How can they possibly mentally prepare themselves when they do not know where they bat. The fact the coach says Warner could bat at 1 is very unsettling for the openers.

  • milepost on July 29, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    They have to stick with Agar, he has a great attitude and can bat. He will develop as a bowler and remember he has had poor decisions against his bolwing, missed stumpings and dropped catches. 19 and showing he has the skill to play test cricket already. If the sheild pitches are so poor for spinners in Australia why waste him for years in that competition? I'm excited by him staying in the team. Watson only edges in for his bowling but not as an opening bat. Monty can barely get a game for his county there's no way he will be playing. Will be interesting to see the selections for Australia. Probably a pretty important toss to win too.

  • on July 29, 2013, 15:40 GMT

    oooo people plz bring fawad on to the team.Lyon is a below average bowler.he can't Even bowl an arm ball.fawad can spin a ball both sides.

  • on July 29, 2013, 15:40 GMT

    Why don't they appoint Warney as the spin coach,there's nothing to loose for them right now

  • on July 29, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    clarke501: two words steven smith :)

  • on July 29, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    warner will perform against English bowlers. hughes, cowan and Watson just cant perform.

  • on July 29, 2013, 14:49 GMT

    get katich in there. stability needed. even if it fails, he will probably do better than some of the current players

    oh, and STEVE O'KEEFE

  • shillingsworth on July 29, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    @Harshit Saxena - 'English aren't good against leg spinners' is a very old cliché. They certainly struggled against greats like Warne and Kumble, as did many batsmen of different nationalities but played average leg spinners like Kaneria, Mishra and Chawla with ease. Selecting someone just because they are a wrist spinner doesn't make sense.

  • on July 29, 2013, 13:55 GMT

    If Mr. Lehman can recieve this message include simon katich,shaun marsh and adam voges to the aussie side and include jackson bird in the playing eleven.If there is a leg spinner in the aussie rank include him as well cause the english aren't good against the leg spinners.All the best guys.

  • 214ty on July 29, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    Remember how Sidebottom used to trap West Indies with the unexpected in-swinger, I don't see our left arm bowlers doing that, neither do the right arm bowlers. Beside bowling too shot and too wide there is no variation in the bowling. Yes, these spinners may take a wicket or two, but at what expense. Australian spinners, beside bowling one way (either leg break or off break), doesn't even push the ball thru occasionally. I think its more important to try to get the batsman out than to learn how to set a field. That is what the coach needs to be doing.

  • anaikaddu on July 29, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    Australia has Ferguson (specialist one day) and North who are far better players than those playing now. North who scored hundred on debut playing in UK and scoring heavily. Why cant Watson bowl more overs and bat down the order. Australia needs good batsmen and at these guys.

  • on July 29, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    Australia should go for broke!, Warner in, Hughes in, keep Agar in, khawag'a plays, play Agar at six, and ensure Agar and Smith get plenty of bowling. No left arm seam bowlers.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 29, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    Alexcoe and Sam Anoyrkatis are both spot-on: just because Panesar is in the squad, do people seriously believe England (the same nation that went to India of all places with only one spinner!) are definitely going to play two spinners? Given that England aren't exactly renowned at dominating spin, are they really going to play into Aus. hands and prepare a raging turner so that the likes of Smith, Clarke, Lyon, Agar, Warner (if he plays) etc. can show up England's batsmen?

    Swann or no Swann, I think the whole spin comparisons are ridiculous, and if KP is really out for next game I'll be amazed if England don't go for: Cook, Root, Trott, Taylor, Bell, Bairstow, Prior, Broad, Bresnan/Tremlett, Swann, Anderson.

  • colc on July 29, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Assuming Clarke is fit, and with Siddle a certainty,you could make a case for dropping orplaying pretty much the entire squad, which is Australia's biggest problem

  • 2MikeGattings on July 29, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    Didn't Lehmann previously tell Warner that if he was recalled he would play at 6? And hasn't Clarke said on this tour the captain decides that the batting order? There are many, many communication problems in this side.

  • Bubba2008 on July 29, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    Agar needs to go. Cowan needs to go. Warner needs to come in, as does Jackson Bird. And Lyon. Why do we have the best players in the country sitting on the bench? It's like we're playing a Second XI for the Ashes of all series.

  • Edwards_Anderson on July 29, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    charile1234 like your side mate but with one change, Watson, Rogers, khawaja, warner, clarke, smith, haddin, siddle, harris, bird, Lyon

  • MartinC on July 29, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    Given the number of catches the Aussies are dropping I would suggest Steve Rixon sticks to his fielding coach role. It does not matter which bowlers you pick if you don't take your catches.

  • landl47 on July 29, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    There are only two ways in which Aus can consider playing two spinners. 1. Leave out Harris, who couldn't carry a full load at Lord's (I think he bowled 11 overs on day 3, while England made 300 and lost 2 wickets, neither to him) let alone as part of a 2-man seam attack or 2. Pick Faulkner to bat #7.

    Either option weakens both the batting and the bowling. The fact is, if the OT wicket takes turn, I expect England to win. Not only will Swann outbowl Agar, Lyon or Agar and Lyon combined, but a turning surface means the ball will get scuffed up and take reverse swing and England use that much better than Australia, especially since Pattinson is no longer available.

    If the wicket is a hard green-top with pace, bounce but no turn and the conditions don't allow Anderson to swing the new ball, Australia is in with a chance. I think we'll see plenty of those wickets in Australia, but I wouldn't count on it for OT.

  • Winsome on July 29, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    Considering that Agar looks better with the bat than half the top order, I'd let him play at 7 or even 6 and only let him bowl if necessary. You are not losing anything by playing him that way.

  • on July 29, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    This is exactly the problem! Australia's batting order progress is completely unstable as the order is completely unstable. Why is Australia continuously chopping and changing, they have a good team with exciting prospects, all have played well before. Theyre not playing well now because of all the editting! Stick to the best XI and get them to played 10, 20, 30+ consective test matches and a team will finally form and stand up. England's team is stable because they always choose their best XI. The best XI players will never change and nor should the team.

    Australia has tremendous young players, they should stick with a balanced order like: 1. Watson 2. Hughes 3. Khawaja 4. Clarke 5. Warner 6. Smith 7. Haddin 8. Pattinson 9. Bird 10. Starc 11. Lyon

  • Chad950 on July 29, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    I still cant see what Nathan Hauritz did wrong.

  • on July 29, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    They should hire the talent of Saqlain Mushtaq as a bowling coach very talented and experienced individual.Very inventive too invented of the doosra and was working on a 3 variety before his career was cut short because of injuries great and humble guy to have in your camp.

  • Amith_S on July 29, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    Agree with boof on both accounts. We don't need a spinning coach when we can use Warne's expertise when required and i like Warner but he shouldn't be a certainty. If he does come in he would replace Hughes but that shouldn't be a forgone conclusion. Smith got a century in hove and Khawaja top scored for us in the Lords second innings on a tough deck so both those guys are ones to watch for Manchester. If Hughes is dropped then Rogers will feel the pressure to score a substantial score in Manchester.

  • VivGilchrist on July 29, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Two spinners is a bad idea. Australia with 2 seamers and 2 spinners will not outbowl 3 seamers and a spinner. Lyon will have Smith as back up spinning it the other way and Bird keeping it tight. Time for Agar to have a rest. We will continue to have these issues, as long as they continue to avoid picking OKeefe. I can't imagine what standard he would be at now with 3 years of Test experience under his belt.

  • vj_gooner on July 29, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    I guess my friend 'charlie_1234" didn't look at Fawad's bowling figures against South Africa A. 42 overs @ 4.21 rpo.

    I agree that the pitch was a quite flat at Pretoria but still going at 4.21 for 42 overs is simply unacceptable!

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    pick me! I bowl a bit of leg spin , can get a bit of drift and drop. I even bowl a deceiving half pitcher that lights up the batters eyes until they are caught on the boundary. I csn be lucky 14 at the age of 40! or we could just send a SOS to warney and see if liz will let him come out to play.

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    I think third investec Ashs Test player of Aus Tim 1. Warner 2. Hughes,3. S. March 4. Michael Clarke (c) 5. Bard Haddin (wk), 6. Steven Smith 7. Balley 8. Peter Siddle 9. Faulkner, 10. Lyon 11.Harris. This the best possible team Aus can play if they are to challenge England.

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    I think the only reason why they're playing 2 spinners, is because Monty Panesar is in the squad. England probably only named him so that both Agar and Lyon play. Judging by the way Smith bowl, I would play him as the only spinner at Old Trafford, and then Siddle, Harris, Bird and Starc as the seamers. The only way that another spinner will be played is if they play Agar as a Batsman, and that might happen after seeing the Austrailian batting line up.

  • Alexcoe on July 29, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    That interview is hilarious - well edited Brydon!!! I'm also almost choking over the possibility that Aus will be hoodwinked yet again by England's deliberately confusing squad selections and pre-match mind games - England will never play in England with two spinners - it took them two matches in India to try it there - and they'd like nothing better than Aus to field only 2 seamers and a pair of substandard tweakers. I reckon Watson might end up their best wicket taker in that case..... think of the Oval last time around... tee hee, who says Flower has no sense of humour...

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    Play Warner. Lyon as well.

  • charlie_1234 on July 29, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    1. Watson 2. Rogers 3.Khawaja 4. Cowan 5. Clarke 6. Smith 7. Haddin 8.Siddle 9. Harris 10. Bird 11. Ahmed Bring in Fawad Ahmed

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    how many spinners has australia tried since warne, we get our fast bowlers to finally pitch the ball up and swing it they look world class, the spin bowling and the batting has been treated the same, cricket australia has so much money yet, you couldnt help mitchell johnson out, wasim akram could make the ball talk yet you wont hire him, in the end we dont have a bowler who will take 10 wickets left arm finger spinners dont take wickets in todays game

  • whoster on July 29, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    Australia's spin bowling policy: pick every spinner (13 and counting since 2007) until the new Warne is discovered - then get a former wicketkeeper to give them 'specialist' spin coaching.

    England have two vastly experienced spinners with 102 Tests, 399 wickets, and 28 '5-for's' between them. The last time Swann and Panesar bowled in tandem was 8 months ago, where they outbowled the Indian spinners IN India to win England the series. If the Old Trafford pitch is dry and dusty, and England play both spinners, only one outcome. Give Panesar a pitch with a bit of pace and bounce, and he's arguably even more dangerous than Swann.

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    My Aussie XI for the Third Investec Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester: 1.Shane Watson 2.Phillip Hughes 3.Usman Khawaja 4.Michael Clarke(c) 5.David Warner 6.Steven Smith 7.Brad Haddin(wk) 8.Ashton Agar 9Nathan Lyon 10.Peter Siddle 11.Jackson Bird

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Would love to see that. Watson being bowled into the ground (and retires permanently injured) because Agar and Lyon are both 1/150 respectively.

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    NO SPINNERS. EVER !!. Aussies do not need them. Stop this obsession with spinners who cant bowl and are not allowed to throw like other countries. Lyon has been learning his trade for 89 years so give me a break. Australia does not have any first class standard spinner so just forget them for now. Pick two spinners for a test and Aussies will lose by an innings

  • max1174 on July 29, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    I cant believe people keep mentioning Hughes. Swann, Anderson and Broad have his number. Cowan has had his chance. Look at his test record through England and India both have really struggled and had their chances. Khwaja deserves his chance and was a gritty second innings at lords.

  • CapitalMarkets on July 29, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    It is important that these young men find cricket a life enhancing experience and that they don't get the natural talent coached out of them. I definitely think Agar should play as a lower order batsman if fit as it takes a very good delivery to get him out and he has shown that he is at least as good as a part time bowler. If Lyon is perceived to be as good as he clearly thinks he is, he should play as well, as Old Trafford is ground which can give assistance to good spinners.

    I'm not convinced that Rogers is the genuine article, since he missed that donkey drop after having been in over an hour. If Kaitich is perceived to be yesterday's man it seems perverse to be persisting with Rogers. Australia should be selecting with one eye on the next series; this one has gone already.

    Someone should remind Australia that their pitches are quicker than English ones and that square close catchers need to be nearer the wicket than they are currently standing, if they expect edges to carry.

  • John-Price on July 29, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Interesting to learn that Steve Rixon is the Australian specialist spin bowling coach. Presumably he draws on the experience of bowling no less than 18 balls in his 204 games at professional level.

  • Shridharan.S on July 29, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Ashton Agar and Nathan Lyon can still play with 3 seamers(including Shane Watson) in the squad.Ashton Agar can bat too.My Aussie XI for the Third Investec Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester: 1.Shane Watson 2.Phillip Hughes 3.Usman Khawaja 4.Michael Clarke(c) 5.Ed Cowan 6.Steven Smith 7.Brad Haddin(wk) 8.Ashton Agar 9.James Faulkner/Nathan Lyon (depending on pitch) 10.Peter Siddle 11.Jackson Bird. This the best possible team the Aussies can play if they are to challenge England.

  • Shridharan.S on July 29, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Ashton Agar and Nathan Lyon can still play with 3 seamers(including Shane Watson) in the squad.Ashton Agar can bat too.My Aussie XI for the Third Investec Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester: 1.Shane Watson 2.Phillip Hughes 3.Usman Khawaja 4.Michael Clarke(c) 5.Ed Cowan 6.Steven Smith 7.Brad Haddin(wk) 8.Ashton Agar 9.James Faulkner/Nathan Lyon (depending on pitch) 10.Peter Siddle 11.Jackson Bird. This the best possible team the Aussies can play if they are to challenge England.

  • John-Price on July 29, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Interesting to learn that Steve Rixon is the Australian specialist spin bowling coach. Presumably he draws on the experience of bowling no less than 18 balls in his 204 games at professional level.

  • CapitalMarkets on July 29, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    It is important that these young men find cricket a life enhancing experience and that they don't get the natural talent coached out of them. I definitely think Agar should play as a lower order batsman if fit as it takes a very good delivery to get him out and he has shown that he is at least as good as a part time bowler. If Lyon is perceived to be as good as he clearly thinks he is, he should play as well, as Old Trafford is ground which can give assistance to good spinners.

    I'm not convinced that Rogers is the genuine article, since he missed that donkey drop after having been in over an hour. If Kaitich is perceived to be yesterday's man it seems perverse to be persisting with Rogers. Australia should be selecting with one eye on the next series; this one has gone already.

    Someone should remind Australia that their pitches are quicker than English ones and that square close catchers need to be nearer the wicket than they are currently standing, if they expect edges to carry.

  • max1174 on July 29, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    I cant believe people keep mentioning Hughes. Swann, Anderson and Broad have his number. Cowan has had his chance. Look at his test record through England and India both have really struggled and had their chances. Khwaja deserves his chance and was a gritty second innings at lords.

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    NO SPINNERS. EVER !!. Aussies do not need them. Stop this obsession with spinners who cant bowl and are not allowed to throw like other countries. Lyon has been learning his trade for 89 years so give me a break. Australia does not have any first class standard spinner so just forget them for now. Pick two spinners for a test and Aussies will lose by an innings

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Would love to see that. Watson being bowled into the ground (and retires permanently injured) because Agar and Lyon are both 1/150 respectively.

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    My Aussie XI for the Third Investec Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester: 1.Shane Watson 2.Phillip Hughes 3.Usman Khawaja 4.Michael Clarke(c) 5.David Warner 6.Steven Smith 7.Brad Haddin(wk) 8.Ashton Agar 9Nathan Lyon 10.Peter Siddle 11.Jackson Bird

  • whoster on July 29, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    Australia's spin bowling policy: pick every spinner (13 and counting since 2007) until the new Warne is discovered - then get a former wicketkeeper to give them 'specialist' spin coaching.

    England have two vastly experienced spinners with 102 Tests, 399 wickets, and 28 '5-for's' between them. The last time Swann and Panesar bowled in tandem was 8 months ago, where they outbowled the Indian spinners IN India to win England the series. If the Old Trafford pitch is dry and dusty, and England play both spinners, only one outcome. Give Panesar a pitch with a bit of pace and bounce, and he's arguably even more dangerous than Swann.

  • on July 29, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    how many spinners has australia tried since warne, we get our fast bowlers to finally pitch the ball up and swing it they look world class, the spin bowling and the batting has been treated the same, cricket australia has so much money yet, you couldnt help mitchell johnson out, wasim akram could make the ball talk yet you wont hire him, in the end we dont have a bowler who will take 10 wickets left arm finger spinners dont take wickets in todays game

  • charlie_1234 on July 29, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    1. Watson 2. Rogers 3.Khawaja 4. Cowan 5. Clarke 6. Smith 7. Haddin 8.Siddle 9. Harris 10. Bird 11. Ahmed Bring in Fawad Ahmed