Australia coach Darren Lehmann has no interest in England’s four-day trip to Spain as he has plenty to ponder following the tourists’ winning start to the Ashes summer.
A convincing 255-run victory over Kent in Canterbury, despite a smashing century from young Englishman Daniel Bell-Drummond, opened Australia’s tour.
Next they go to Chelmsford for a four-day game with Essex, which begins on Wednesday, while England are in Spain to get to know new head coach Trevor Bayliss.
Asked what England can achieve by their break, coming little more than a week out from the start of the Ashes in Cardiff on 8 July, Lehmann said: “I don’t know, don’t want to know. Don’t care.
“I only worry about us. We’ve got to worry about how we’re going to produce good cricket in England because we haven’t won here in 14 years. That’s our focus. We’re not worried too much about what England are doing.”
The game at the St Lawrence Ground was filled with positives for Lehmann, who gave short shrift to England seamer Stuart Broad’s suggestion that Steven Smith could struggle this summer.
Smith, fresh from 199 and an unbeaten 54 in Jamaica earlier this month, made 111 before retiring in his only appearance at the crease in Kent.
“I thought this sledging stuff was supposed to stop,” Lehmann said with a smile. “I’m not too worried about that. I think he got 199 at No 3 the other week. You’ve got to be a good player to make runs and Steven Smith’s a good player.”
Lehmann named his team for Essex – David Warner, Chris Rogers, Michael Clarke, Adam Voges, Shane Watson, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Nathan Lyon – and is pleased with the strength in depth in his squad.
“We know the rough line-up we want to go with [for the first Test], how that shapes up will still depend a bit on performance,” he said.
Two positions where decisions have to be made are at opener – between Shaun Marsh and Rogers – and the all-rounder berth, which is up for grabs between Mitchell Marsh and Watson, who hit 101 and 81, respectively, in Australia’s second innings in Kent.
“It’s going to be tight,” said Lehmann, who said Watson did not bowl due to general soreness, rather than any injury. “We need Watto bowling and he’ll definitely bowl in the next tour game. He’s going to have to bowl well [to be selected].”
Seamer Ryan Harris needs to prove his worth and fitness, too. Lehmann added: “He’s got to prove to us he can bowl 20 overs an innings and make sure he’s ready to go. If he can do that then he certainly comes into consideration.”
Bell-Drummond showed his potential with 127 from 112 balls, featuring 21 fours and three sixes.
Bell-Drummond described his innings as his best day in cricket “by quite a mile” as he earned the congratulations of Australia captain Clarke.Reuse content