Ashes: Lehmann unconcerned with England’s Spain stint

Australia coach focused on winning first Ashes on English soil in 14 years.

Afp June 30, 2015
Lehmann said he would make sure Shane Watson bowls in the next tour match after the all-rounder didn’t turn his arm over because of general soreness. PHOTO: AFP

CANTERBURY: Australia coach Darren Lehmann made it clear he could not care less what England get up to during their four-day trip to Spain after his side launched their Ashes tour with a convincing win.

Sunday saw Ashes-holders Australia defeat Kent by 255 runs on the final day of four in Canterbury.

Australia now have one more four-day game, against Essex in Chelmsford starting on Wednesday, before they begin the defence of the Ashes with the first Test against England in Cardiff from July 8.

England have travelled to Spain in a bid for their likely Ashes squad to get to know new Australian coach Trevor Bayliss.

Asked what England might gain from such an exercise, Lehmann told reporters at the St Lawrence Ground, “I don’t know, don’t want to know. Don’t care. To be perfectly honest, I only worry about us. We’ve got to worry about how we are going to produce really good cricket in England because we haven’t won here for 14 years. That’s our focus.”

Australia, fresh from their 2-0 Test series win in the Caribbean, had just about as good an all-round workout as could be expected against Kent.

Fast-bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris got through several sharp overs, while several Australia batsmen scored hundreds.

Among those to reach three figures was Steven Smith, whose status as the world’s number-one ranked Test batsman was not enough to stop England new-ball bowler Stuart Broad from suggesting he might struggle in English conditions.

Smith, who came into this match on the back of his 199 against the West Indies in Jamaica, made 111 before retiring in his lone innings against Kent

“I thought this sledging stuff was supposed to stop!” said a smiling Lehmann. “It’s pretty much always swung in the history of the game here in England. You’ve got to be a good player to make runs. I think Steven Smith is a good player.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th,  2015.

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