Lehmann warns Aussies af­ter Perth ca­pit­u­la­tion

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

PERTH:

Aus­tralia coach Dar­ren Lehmann warned his wounded squad “ev­ery spot is un­der pres­sure” for the sec­ond Test this week­end af­ter their ca­pit­u­la­tion to South Africa in Perth. The Proteas won the open­ing Test by 177 runs af­ter poor bat­ting and string of dropped catches con­signed Aus­tralia to a fourth suc­ces­sive Test de­feat. They lost all three Tests on their July-Au­gust tour of Sri Lanka. Opener Shaun Marsh has al­ready been ruled out of the sec­ond Test in Ho­bart from Satur­day with a bro­ken fin­ger, with Joe Burns ex­pected to take his place. The un­capped Cal­lum Fer­gu­son has also been drafted into the squad with Adam Vo­ges un­der an in­jury cloud, while pace­man Joe Men­nie, 12th man in Perth, could get his chance with Peter Sid­dle strug­gling with a sore back. De­pend­ing on the Ho­bart con­di­tions, spin­ner Nathan Lyon could be a ca­su­alty af­ter he failed to take a wicket in South Africa’s sec­ond in­nings at a cost of 146 runs. “I would say ev­ery spot is un­der pres­sure,” said Lehmann, who is aware that the last time Aus­tralia lost four in a row, then coach Mickey Arthur got the chop.

“That’s the na­ture of the beast if you don’t have suc­cess,” he added. Cap­tain Steve Smith is also un­der heavy scru­tiny with Aus­tralian me­dia blast­ing the team as a shadow of its former self with the skip­per tak­ing plenty of flak.

The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald Tues­day trum­peted “Un-Aus­tralian: Sorry de­cline of Smith’s team is shock­ing”, while The Aus­tralian broad­sheet said: “Hot breath of dis­con­tent on cap­tain Smith’s neck.”

“Dar­ren Lehmann and Steve Smith are now un­der un­prece­dented pres­sure as the heads of Aus­tralian cricket fol­low­ing the hu­mi­la­tion at the WACA,” said Syd­ney’s Daily Tele­graph cricket writer Ben Horne. “Aus­tralia have now slumped to four straight Test de­feats and his­tory sug­gests that when the Test side has en­tered this kind of los­ing red zone in the past, the men in charge cop the full ex­tent of the fall­out.” Both teams are nurs­ing some tired bowlers, with Aus­tralia’s Mitchell Starc, Josh Ha­zle­wood, Sid­dle and Mitchell Marsh all “pretty sore”. “I would imag­ine the South African boys would be the two bowlers that bowled the whole game for them (Kag­iso Rabada and Ver­non Phi­lan­der),” said Lehmann.

“All bowlers are go­ing to be pretty sore and tight. We’ll just have to see how they pull up and make a call from there. They (South Africa) will have the same is­sues.”

The South Africans have called up un­capped all-rounder Dwaine Pre­to­rius for the fi­nal two Tests as cover for in­jured strike bowler Dale Steyn. Steyn is set to spend at least six months on the side­lines af­ter break­ing his shoul­der while bowl­ing in Perth.— AFP

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