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'It won't get tougher than this' - Justin Langer expects Australia to develop character, not scars, after England beatings

Australia now head to Zimbabwe for a T20I tri-series that also includes Pakistan but perhaps the most significant tour will be when Australia A and South Africa A play a tri-series in India in August

The Australian squad may be leaving England without a win but Justin Langer believes they won't be carrying any mental baggage either, despite a disappointing tour. After the 22-run loss in the standalone T20I at Edgbaston, Langer said he believes the tough lessons learned will benefit the younger players in the squad.
"Light at the end of the tunnel, there's no doubt about that," said Langer. "We knew it was going to be a big job knowing where we came from in South Africa.
"There's been some great learning and some real positives that have come from this trip. On the surface it looks like a complete disaster but we have talked about a team for the World Cup and the Ashes and I think we have unlocked a few answers, but it hurts when you get beaten, particularly in England.
"My first Test match was against the West Indies and it was pretty scary. You faced four fast West Indians and you are a skinny kid. I remember David Boon saying 'Test cricket will never get tougher than this'."
"I thought he was just being nice to me but it was so true. I learned something from it and I was tougher from it. When you look at Trent Bridge for our young blokes to get hit for 480-something, it doesn't get tougher. Hopefully it will add some layers to their character and not scars."
Langer pointed to the lack of experience in the squad, the absence of several first-choice players as well as Australia's long-standing battles to master spin as key reasons Australia had struggled throughout the tour. But he was full in his praise of England's prowess in the short forms of the game.
"I have been blown away by how well England are playing but they have got 880 games between them, they're all in good form, they're at the peak of their powers right now and we've come up against them," said Langer.
"There's so many people talking about our style of play at the moment. When I started playing Test cricket I could not hit them off the square. I could hit them to third man and hit them to fine leg and I didn't have much else, but by the end of my career I would come out and I would be swinging, I would be playing cover drives and pull shots and I'd be hitting the spinners over their heads.
"My point is, we talk about England now and they are guys playing brilliant cricket. They are confident, they're scoring hundreds and they've been playing together for a long time. They have the core together and they take confidence from it, at the moment we haven't got that. What I do know is we will learn lessons from how England are playing at the moment but it is hard to compare us because we are at such a different stage of our journey."
The journey for both teams, in the one-day format at least, leads straight back to England and Wales next summer, and while there may have been valuable lessons learned by this group of players, Langer made it clear he is expecting to come back for the World Cup with a more experienced squad.
"If Steve Smith and David Warner and Mitch Marsh, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc come back in, all of a sudden you've got 800 games of experience again and we've got a lot more experienced team," said Langer.
"And if some of these young guys who are gaining some experience here, or the guys who have taken it up - Shaun Marsh in the one-day series, he scored two hundreds. Ashton Agar has been really good with the ball and shown a lot with the bat.
"Billy Stanlake has had some good games. If we can get some of those guys learning and growing and if some of the other guys are available, who knows what could happen in 12 months' time?
"It's a fact of life, we don't know what's going to happen in 12 months. That will just be natural if some of those more senior players come back in the team, that's just reality."
Australia now head to Zimbabwe for a T20I tri-series that also includes Pakistan but perhaps the most significant tour will be when Australia A and South Africa A play a tri-series in India in August. A number of players in and around the Test side will be in that squad and, while Langer won't be present, performances in India could have a significant impact on the make-up of the Australian Test side during the home summer, when they host India and Sri Lanka.
"It's huge," said Langer. "We'll probably pick the Test team after the Australia A team. It's a great opportunity, particularly for our young batsmen, or any batsman in Australia.
"It's very, very rare to pick a Test squad after something like that. We've got a short period so it's going to be a huge tour. It's exciting. I won't be at that tour, because from about the end of September, we're not going to go home for about 18 months. So I probably won't go to India for that tour.
"I'll certainly be watching it closely because we have to start building the top six in the Test team."

Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo