Cardiff loss a minor hiccup - Lehmann
Australia's coach Darren Lehmann has described England's big victory in the first Test as a "minor hiccup", and has effectively challenged the Lord's ground staff to produce a quicker pitch for the second match from Thursday.
While Lehmann was happy to acknowledge England played the better cricket across the first four days of the series, he denied that his side had been surprised by the enterprise with which the hosts played, attacking at every reasonable opportunity and using relentless pressure and inventive fields to goad the touring batsmen into error.
"They were better. Full stop. Better in all three disciplines - they caught everything," Lehmann said. "Yes they attacked, we knew that was going to be the case. I think that's the way everyone is starting to play which is great to see for the fans out there, I reckon it's a great spectacle. From our point of view, obviously a little bit disappointing with the way we played, but we knew they were going to be quite aggressive.
"Our preparation has been excellent considering we came off the West Indies and the wickets were very similar, then the two tour games so they're good to go. It's a minor hiccup and now we've got to get back to it in four days time and play better than we have and show the discipline you require to make big runs on these type of wickets and bat a lot longer.
"There was some good bowling from England there's no doubt about that, full credit to them. But our batters could probably stay in a little bit longer with shot selection I'd say, but having said that they're quality players and they'll come back well. From our point of view it's more of a case of a good, short turnaround for us. I think that's an excellent opportunity for us to get back in to it and learn from our mistakes and play better next Test match around. Yes they're one-up, but it's a long series as we know."
On the subject of conditions for the series, Lehmann did little to hid his distaste for the pitch prepared in Cardiff, even if there seems little evidence that it was anything other than a typical pitch at Sophia Gardens, or that the England management had expressly requested the type of surface they played on.
"We know the conditions really well. We didn't play them really well this game," he said. "But the bonus is we're going to places we've been to a couple of years ago, most of our guys, and know what we're going to get in terms of wickets. Everyone talks about loving more pace. Yes, that would be true but we're not going to get it so there's no point asking."
Pointedly, Lehmann suggested that he expected the "home of cricket" at Lord's to provide a pitch more in tune with how he views the game, and with how Australia's spearhead Mitchell Johnson most often succeeds. "You'd hope so at the Home of Cricket," he said. "I'd just like to see you be able to bowl a bouncer on day one. That'd be nice, but that's okay.
"I think Mitch got better as the game went on. I thought he was better in the second innings. The way he got Ian Bell out was quite exciting for us. And I think Lord's has more pace in it than this one. End of the day he's a class bowler. If he gets it right he can certainly run through sides. We have got an aggressive attack - there's no doubt about that. But you've got to get 20 wickets to win the game and we've got to find ways to do it."
As for team selections and the place of Shane Watson in particular after another pair of lbw dismissals, Lehmann said there would be much discussion with the selection chairman Rod Marsh between now and Thursday morning about how best to bring the series back to level terms after the result in Cardiff.
"He'd be disappointed with that, so are we, end of the day you don't want to get out lbw all the time and you want to make more runs," Lehmann said. "He's doing everything he possibly can to rectify that and first innings was a tight call ... so it's one of those things you've got to find a way and that's probably what we didn't do as a batting group, not just Shane.
"It's going to be a tight call heading into the second Test. We'll wait until we get to London and have a look at how everyone pulls up over the next couple of days. It's a short turnaround and work out what we think the best attack is to take 20 wickets. The pleasing thing again is we took 20 wickets in a Test match - they probably got too many runs but we can get 20 wickets.
"You're 1-0 down in a five Test match series and I'm pretty sure there's going to be five results, depending on the weather. It's the same as last time. There's always results in the game. The game moves forward when Australia play and now when England play it moves very fast. That's a good thing for the fans."
Lehmann said he would wait on the fitness of Mitchell Starc after the left-armer needed painkillers to bowl on an injured ankle, but insisted he would only play if 100 percent fit. Australia physio Alex Kountouris said Starc would be monitored over the next few days.
"Mitchell experienced some pain in the back of his right ankle during the Test match which is common with fast-bowlers," Kontouris said . "He was in discomfort while bowling but since then has improved significantly. We will monitor him over the next few days but the plan is for him to take part in some light training and we are hopeful he will be available for selection for the second Test beginning on Thursday."
Peter Siddle's chances of a return to the side are firming.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig