Ashes 2015: Darren Lehmann hints at Australia changes
Australia coach Darren Lehmann has said the tourists are prepared to make changes for the second Ashes Test, amid speculation all-rounder Shane Watson is set to be dropped.
Cardiff: Australia coach Darren Lehmann has said the tourists are prepared to make changes for the second Ashes Test, amid speculation all-rounder Shane Watson is set to be dropped.
England won the series opener by a crushing 169 runs with more than a day to spare in Cardiff yesterday. The match saw Watson twice out in familiar fashion, lbw in both innings for modest scores of 30 and 19, while Australia captain Michael Clarke only utilised his medium-paced bowling for 13 overs in the match.
Watson has now fallen lbw 39 times during the course of a 59-match Test career repeatedly blighted by injuries, and has only passed 50 twice in his last 16 innings With fellow seam-bowling all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, 11 years Watson's junior, waiting in the wings Australia do have a ready-made alternative and Lehmann indicated it was one the tourists were considering deploying at Lord's, where the second Test starts on Thursday.
"At the end of day you don't want to be getting out lbw all the time and you want to make more runs," Lehmann said Sunday. "Shane would be disappointed, so are we.
"It's one of those things where you have to find a way and that's something we probably didn't do as a batting group, not just Shane. "We'll certainly look at the wicket and work out the best XI to win in those conditions and it means making changes, we'll make changes.
"That won't be an issue for the selection panel. It's going to be a tight call heading into the second Test," the former Australia batsman, whose side thrashed England 5-0 on home soil in 2013/14, added.
"We can't control what just happened, what we can do is learn from it and make the right decisions going forward," said Lehmann, looking to guide Australia to their first Ashes series win in Britain in 14 years.
- 'Big decision' -
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting told Sky Sports that Watson's place was under threat, saying: "There's a very big decision that needs to be made there...Watson hasn't bowled a lot in this Test."
Australia have fitness concerns over Mitchell Starc, their best bowler in Cardiff despite playing most of the match with a right ankle injury. The left-arm paceman took seven wickets on a slow Sophia Gardens pitch and now has just four days to be fit in time for Lord's.
"We'll see how he pulls up but he's going to have to be 100 percent," said Lehmann.
There have been suggestions that pitches for the series will be deliberately slow in order to nullify the threat of Australia's fast bowlers, appreciably quicker than their England counterparts.
"We know what we're going to get in terms of wickets," said Lehmann.
"Everyone says we'd love a little more pace and yes, that would be true, but we're not going to get it and there's no point asking," added Lehmann, who played county cricket in England for Yorkshire.
"You'd hope for more at 'the home of cricket (Lord's)...I'd just like you to be able to bowl a bouncer on day one."
But former England wicket-keeper Matt Prior said talk of 'pitch-doctoring' was nonsense.
"All this talk of the Cardiff pitch being engineered to help our bowlers is just ridiculous," Prior wrote in his Independent on Sunday column.
"Cardiff is slow and low and always has been -- it's like turning up at the Gabba (in Brisbane) or Perth and moaning that it's quick and bouncy and then accusing Australia of doctoring pitches.
"The whole idea of us preparing pitches to nullify the Aussie quicks is a joke."