Friday, Dec 15, 2017 | Last Update : 05:47 PM IST
After Australia’s defeat to Sri Lanka in Kandy, head coach Darren Lehmann opted to train his eyes on the positives ahead of the second Test against in Galle.
After Australia’s defeat to Sri Lanka in Kandy, head coach Darren Lehmann opted to train his eyes on the positives ahead of the second Test against in Galle. While Lehmann rued the poor shots played by the batsmen in the 106-run loss, he also credited the bowlers for picking up 20 wickets.
Australia managed to shoot down Sri Lanka for just 117 in the first innings. However, they folded for 203 in reply. Kusal Mendis revived Sri Lanka’s chances with a 254-ball 176 and helped the hosts set a target of 268. There was little resistance from the visitors as they nosedived to a loss in the final day after Steve Smith’s 55.
“They’ve got to be better at decision-making,” he said, when he fronted the media on Monday (August 1). “The disappointing thing was we gave up a big lead. We should’ve made more runs in the first innings. We let them off the hook there. The positive was we got 20 wickets again. If we keep getting 20 wickets, it gives you a good chance that if your batters are making runs to win games of cricket.
“That was the pleasing thing for us, especially when we had a bowler down in the second innings. And there’s enough upside there that we know we’re on the right path with the type of team we want to play. It gets down to just the execution against their spinners really. We’ve been very good at first-innings runs in the last 12 months, and that was the big challenge. Your first-innings runs set up games, and that was what we needed to do.
Lehmann, however, refused to brush aside any concerns about the batsmen’s ability to play spin. Australia lost 18 off their 20 wickets to spin with with Rangana Herath bagging nine. “I thought some of the guys really applied themselves better in the second innings than the first,” he pointed out. “Probably decision-making cost them at the end of the day. That sort of innings was very good from Steven. The wicket might be different batting first here at Galle, if you win the toss. I think it’ll still spin from day one, but it just is what it is.
“I can’t remember a better preparation. I know that sounds a bit silly when you get bowled out for 200 and 160. I think the batters are in a really good space, probably their decision-making wasn’t quite up to scratch in this Test match — well, it wasn’t up to scratch. We had starts but no-one got on with it,” he added.