Australia coach Darren Lehmann believes his side have exposed some ‘cracks’ in England’s top-order batting which they will look to widen before the end of this Ashes series.
The tourists’ hopes of regaining the urn were washed away by a rain-affected third Test draw at Old Trafford on Monday which left Ashes-holders England an unassailable 2-0 up with two to play.
But a much improved display saw Australia make a first-innings score of 527 for seven declared, which included captain Michael Clarke’s superb 187, after they’d been bowled out for just 128 first time around in a crushing 347-run second Test defeat at Lord’s.
In the hosts nail-biting 14-run first Test win at Trent Bridge, England’s Ian Bell made a hundred and he did so again at Lord’s where young opener Joe Root weighed in with 180.
However, it was a different story at Old Trafford where Kevin Pietersen’s 113 was all about helping England avoid the follow-on.
“The first two Tests, Root got a big hundred and Bell’s made a couple,” said Lehmann. “But we’ve shown a couple of cracks in their batting, which is exciting for us as a bowling unit.”
Asked if by that he meant England captain Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Jonny Bairstow – all still searching for a major score this series – the former Australia batsman added: “It’s not just those three.
“We have some great ideas about the other eight batters — which is good.”
Lehmann was understandably delighted by the way Australia, for whom this draw stopped a run of six straight Test defeats, responded to their humiliating loss at Lord’s.
“After Lord’s, it was a real test of character,” he said ahead of Friday’s fourth Test in Durham.
“They passed with flying colours. We dominated the game. We have to repeat that at Durham. Making big runs helps.”
Flower calls for improved use of drs
England coach Andy Flower joined the captains of both sides in calling for improved use of the Decision Review System (DRS) in the remaining two Ashes Tests against Australia.
Once again the use of DRS by the officials this Ashes was a major talking point after yet more contentious rulings in Manchester.
“Firstly umpiring is a very tricky business,” said Flower yesterday. “But I would say that there are very clear protocols to use and to stick to and I think some calm decision-making needs to be made over the next two Tests.”
Sometimes the available technology has contradicted itself and former Zimbabwe batsman Flower added: “I think there are improvements that can be made.
“There are improvements in the use of the technology and the use of experts who know how to use the technology that could make a difference to getting better results.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2013.
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