Ashes 2013: Darren Lehmann wants Australia’s batsmen to shine

Ashes 2013: Australia head coach Darren Lehmann calls on his under-fire batsmen to start scoring ahead of second Test at Lord's

Harry Kemble
By Harry Kemble

Darren Lehmann has called for his under-fire batsmen to start scoring ahead of the second Ashes Test, starting on Thursday.

The tourists limped to 117 for nine in the first innings at Trent Bridge and were rescued by Ashton Agar’s 98, while second time around they looked dead and buried until Brad Haddin, batting at seven, coupled with some cameo efforts from the lower order, nearly saw Australia pull off a miraculous victory – chasing a ground-record 311 – only to lose by 14 runs.

“Our tail has done really well over a period of time now, but it’s time for the batters to make sure they’re making the runs,” he said, speaking after the first Test,” said Lehmann.

“I think we only batted for 64 overs in the first innings and 110 in the second. We’ve got to be reversing that about, batting for 120 overs plus in the first innings of a game and making our runs there.”

One player in need of form and could even be dropped for Lord’s is Ed Cowan.

The left-hander suffered a disappointing home coming in Nottingham, where he played county cricket for the first half of this season, scoring a total of just 14 runs, including a golden duck in the first innings.

To make matters worse, Cowan spent long spells off the field recovering from nausea.

“He’s had a tough game,” admitted Lehmann. “Like everyone, you’ve got to make runs and perform.

“We’ve told Ed how we want him to play and how we want him to bat. We picked him to do a role. He’ll be disappointed with the shots. So are we. We’re trying to learn and get better. I’m sure he’ll get better at that as well.”

Lehmann was keen to highlight the narrow margin of England’s victory as a reason why his Australian side can bounce back in St John’s Wood to level the series.

Ahead of the Ashes many felt Australia would endure a tour to forget with England running out easy winners.

But for four and half days in Trent Bridge momentum switched with alarming regularity between the two teams – giving hope to cricket fans of a clash to remember.

Lehmann said: “I think they’re quite close – a lot closer than people give them credit for, both sides. So the key for us is to make sure we’re playing better.

“I still don’t think we performed to the level we want to perform at. If we do that then we’ll be good enough.

“We’ve certainly got to bat better as a top order. We’re going to bowl very well, and we know we can control their batters. It’s just a case of making more runs. I just thought we missed a chance probably in the first innings with our top order.

“I know conditions were tough, but we had to get through that they’re the areas we can improve on.”

Meanwhile, Lehmann did not rule out playing two spinners at Lord’s where the surface has become increasingly dry in recent years, meaning off-spinner Nathan Lyon could potentially win back a place in the side.

“You just pick the best way to get 20 wickets. That’s the key,” said Lehmann. “We know we’ve got to get 20 to win the Test match. We did it here, and just missed out.

“We’ve got to back it up again and do it at Lord’s. If we think two spinners is the right way to go, we’ll do that.”

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