England to be shown no mercy: Lehmann

CRICKET

Two words from coach Darren Lehmann summed up how he plans to keep Australia’s foot on England’s throat in the Boxing Day Ashes Test.

‘‘Flog ’em,’’ he said of his own players.

‘‘Flog them at training, that’s easy.’’

With the Ashes already won after taking an unbeatable 3-0 lead, Australia are now intent on completing a series sweep.

England are in disarray, with off-spinner Graeme Swann announcing his immediate retirement from international cricket yesterday.

He is the second senior English player to leave the tour, with batsman Jonathan Trott going home a month ago because of personal issues.

And Lehmann is adamant he wants no mercy for the tourists.

‘‘To have two senior guys not play, that’s maybe an advantage, but also younger guys get a chance,’’ Lehmann said.

‘‘I only worry about us. That’s how we deal with it and that’s all we can do.

‘‘I’m sure they weren’t worried about us last time either [when Australia lost 3-0 earlier this year in England].

‘‘They have a good coach and good support staff – I’m sure they’ll work through all those issues.’’

Despite Australia’s domination of this series, one ongoing worry for Lehmann is their brittle top order.

They have been wobbly in all three first innings before the middle order and tailenders engineered strong recoveries.

Given the intense atmosphere of a packed MCG on Boxing Day, it will be crucial for the top order to make a strong start.

‘‘Our top order know they have to make some more runs and one of the big things is making them in the first innings,’’ Lehmann said.

‘‘We need our guys performing straight up, day one, if we bat first.’’

Opening batsman Chris Rogers has not made a century in this series and confessed on Saturday he was feeling some pressure.

But Lehmann said Rogers would stay in the 11 for Boxing Day.

Australia have not changed their line-up since the first Test.

‘‘They [Rogers and David Warner] have had some good opening partnerships for us, which we didn’t get in England.’’

While the wheels have fallen off for England, the good news keeps coming for the home side.

Paceman Jackson Bird resumed from his back injury at national level on Friday night in the Big Bash League and starred for the Melbourne Stars with 4-31.

‘‘I know it’s the Big Bash and it’s only four overs . . . [but] it’s great to put pressure on the current lot and also have some options there,’’ Lehmann said. AAP

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop