Only four safe in shat­tered Aus­tralia: Lehmann

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS - HO­BART:

Coach Dar­ren Lehmann de­clared only four play­ers were sure to keep their places in the Aus­tralian team af­ter another de­mor­al­is­ing bat­ting collapse handed South Africa a crush­ing series vic­tory in Ho­bart yes­ter­day.

In what is be­com­ing a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence, the Aus­tralians folded spec­tac­u­larly los­ing eight wick­ets for 32 runs in just un­der 20 overs for an in­nings and 80-run de­feat to the Proteas be­fore lunch on the fourth day. The bat­ting freefall has in­ten­si­fied scru­tiny on Steve Smith’s em­bat­tled side af­ter their fifth straight heavy Test de­feat this year, all by 100 runs or more.

Lehmann, whose coach­ing po­si­tion is also un­der scru­tiny af­ter it was ex­tended to 2019 only last Au­gust, said there will “def­i­nitely” be changes for next week’s fi­nal day-night Test in Ade­laide.

As a con­se­quence of the early-fin­ish­ing Ho­bart Test, all bats­men, in­clud­ing wick­et­keeper Peter Nevill and spin­ner Nathan Lyon, but not the three pace bowlers, will be re­quired to play in this week’s round of do­mes­tic Sh­effield Shield be­fore the Test squad is named on Sun­day. Lehmann, who also sits on the se­lec­tion panel, said that only Smith, David Warner and pace pair Mitchell Starc and Josh Ha­zle­wood would be sure of keep­ing their spots. “We’ve got to stop the rot, we’ve got to work out what the best XI is,” Lehmann told re­porters.

“Guys play­ing in this Test match, some were dis­ap­pointed in their per­for­mances and they get the chance to play the Shield games to put their hand up. “I thought Ha­zle­wood was great, Starc’s get­ting back to his best and then you’ve got Smith and Warner.

“Out­side of that ev­ery­one’s got to make some runs and take some wick­ets.

It’s a re­ally im­por­tant four days of Shield cricket.” Those look­ing down the gun are 37-year-old bats­man Adam Vo­ges, opener Joe Burns and Cal­lum Fer­gu­son, who both came in for the Ho­bart Test. Spin­ner Lyon is another whose place is at risk af­ter tak­ing just two wick­ets at 120.50 each in the South Africa series.

“Like ev­ery­one else, Adam’s been a very good player for us for 20-odd Test matches. End of the day he’s got to go back and make runs like ev­ery­one else,” Lehmann said.

The coach said there was a des­o­late mood in the dress­ing room af­ter the de­feat.

“Ev­ery­body is hurt­ing in the rooms. I haven’t seen it as quiet af­ter a loss and that’s un­der­stand­able be­cause of the per­for­mances,” he said. “We pride our­selves on play­ing for our coun­try and we haven’t done that well enough over the last three and a half days.” He said for­mer greats were talk­ing with the shat­tered play­ers, of­fer­ing ad­vice and sup­port go­ing for­ward.

“Mark Tay­lor and Shane Warne have been chat­ting to the guys one on one. Ian Healy, Tom Moody, Si­mon Katich, Brett Lee, we’ve had a lot of the le­gends come in,” he said.

“The young guys who are play­ing to­day looked up to them. It’s great to have them in the rooms and speak­ing to them.” —AFP

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