Time for change

> Aussie need shake-up, says em­bar­rassed Aussie skip­per Smith <

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

MBARRASSED” SKIP­PER Steve Smith said Aus­tralia needed a shake-up but backed un­der-fire coach Dar­ren Lehmann af­ter the hosts slumped to a hu­mil­i­at­ing se­ries de­feat to South Africa yes­ter­day.

Eight wick­ets fell for 32 runs as Aus­tralia went down by an in­nings and 80 runs be­fore lunch on the fourth day of the rain-hit sec­ond Test, their fifth straight loss in the for­mat.

It fol­lowed an in­glo­ri­ous rout of 85 in the first in­nings, and a 10-86 bat­ting col­lapse in the first in­nings of their com­pre­hen­sive first-Test loss in Perth.

Ashen-faced Smith told re­porters he was hu­mil­i­ated by the man­ner of Aus­tralia’s ab­ject sur­ren­der, and said some­thing had to change ahead of next week’s daynight third Test in Ade­laide.

“I am em­bar­rassed to be sit­ting here, to be per­fectly hon­est with you. Too many times we have lost wick­ets in clumps, 8/32 to­day, 10/85 in the first in­nings,” Smith said.

“And it is hap­pen­ing way too con­sis­tently for my lik­ing. We are not be­ing re­silient, we are not will­ing to tough it out and get through tough pe­ri­ods... it is not good enough.”

Smith, who re­mained 48 not out in the first in­nings sham­bles and scored 31 at his sec­ond visit to the crease, fore­shad­owed se­lec­tion changes as Aus­tralian cricket grap­ples to fix its de­mor­alised na­tional team.

“It is not work­ing. So, ob­vi­ously on the back of five losses there is go­ing to be a lot talked about in re­gards to se­lec­tion and things like that,” the 17-Test skip­per said.

“We’ve got to start find­ing a way to turn things around. Whether the ball is seam­ing or spin­ning or swing­ing we don’t have an an­swer at the mo­ment.

“We are not re­silient enough, we are not dig­ging in enough, we are not hav­ing the pride in our wicket, we’re just not be­ing re­silient enough and some­thing has got to change.

“We have got to play a lot bet­ter than we have been if we are go­ing to beat any op­po­si­tion around the world at the mo­ment.”

All the Test bats­men, in­clud­ing wick­et­keeper Peter Nevill and spin­ner Nathan Lyon but not the three fast bowlers, will play in this week’s do­mes­tic Sh­effield Shield games be­fore the team for the third Test is cho­sen on Sun­day.

“My­self and ev­ery­one that is go­ing to wear an Aus­tralian cap for the next game need to be a lot bet­ter and step up and start play­ing the way an Aus­tralian team needs to play,” Smith de­manded.

Lehmann is also un­der ma­jor pres­sure, but Smith of­fered words of sup­port for the coach and said the play­ers were to blame for Aus­tralia’s prob­lems.

“It’s not his fault we’re not play­ing well, it’s up to us to go out there and do the job. I have ab­so­lutely no prob­lem with any­thing Dar­ren is do­ing at the mo­ment,” he said.

He also praised the qual­ity of the Proteas bowl­ing at­tack, led by Kyle Ab­bott, Kag­iso Rabada and Ver­non Phi­lan­der af­ter strike bowler Dale Steyn was in­jured in the first Test.

“It’s tough and the South African bowlers, when there is some­thing in the wicket, Phi­lan­der, Ab­bott and Rabada, they are world class,” he said.

“They hit the top of off­s­tump and got the ball seam­ing both ways and they don’t give you any free­bies. And you have got to work hard for your runs.” – AFP

South Africa’s Kyle Ab­bott watches as team­mate and wick­et­keeper Quin­ton de Kock takes a catch to dis­miss Aus­tralia’s Mitchell Starc dur­ing yes­ter­day’s sec­ond cricket Test match at the Bel­lerive Oval in Hobart. –

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