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2013 年 7 月 19 日  星期五   晴天
Lehmann wants to keep England guessing

Coach Darren Lehmann says uncertainty over the make up of his team is a major advantage for Australia heading into the first Test against England at Trent Bridge how to register a business.

At least two batting positions and a place in the bowling arsenal are up for grabs in the countdown to Wednesday's Ashes start in Nottingham.

Openers Shane Watson and Chris Rogers are locked in, captain Michael Clarke will most likely bat at No.4 and Phil Hughes will feature somewhere.

Ed Cowan, David Warner and Steve Smith appear to be fighting it out for the two remaining spots, with Usman Khawaja probably out of the picture.

Bowling wise, it would seem James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon are certainties with Peter Siddle left to fend off challenges from Jackson Bird and Ryan Harris for the final pace pick.

Lehmann says he's wanted to keep his players hungry by keeping the fight for selection going for as long as possible.

But his biggest motivation in keeping things secret is to keep England guessing Maid Agency.

"Probably 10.30 on the morning of the first Test - I think that's a real advantage for us," Lehmann said in terms of when his team would be finalised.

To date, his tactic has worked in the sense that every batsman eligible to play has scored at least a half century in the two tour matches - with Clarke and Watson posting centuries.

Lehmann says Australia can only claim back the Ashes if batsmen stand up and follow Clarke's lead.

"That's a big thing for us. I don't think we've made enough 100s for a long period of time as a batting unit," the coach said.

"There have only been a couple in the last few Test series and Michael has made most of them."

Cowan's comments on Sky Sports Radio in Sydney during the week suggested he was the frontrunner to fill the No.3 position.

But his first innings 58 against Worcestershire was blighted by a slow scoring rate in a situation where Australia should have been flying on the scoreboard, after a 170-run stand from Watson and Rogers.

He was also involved in two run-outs blackberry phone covers.

In the second innings, he was dropped on nought and threw away another chance for a big score on a flat wicket when he was out for 34.

If Cowan misses out for the first Test, it's likely Hughes will bat at No.3 and Warner and Smith will occupy No.5 and 6.

Lehmann, who stressed Clarke would pick the batting order, said Cowan hadn't done enough to put his case beyond doubt.

"He got some runs in this game. You'd love him to make hundreds and put his position beyond doubt," he said.

Lehmann said Smith had done his chances no harm with 68no against Worcestershire.

Smith is a classy player of spin and Lehmann acknowledged the batting unit needed to improve in that area after the disaster of the Indian series and with England's Graeme Swann on the horizon.

"We didn't play their spinners very well in India, full stop, so we've done a lot of work on that," Lehmann said.

"We're not hiding from that. We've got to learn from that experience. That's a thing I wanted to bring to the table. We want to play a certain way against that type of bowling."

The suspended Warner has been told to prepare himself with the mindset he'll play.

"I like aggressive players but we've got to make sure he's in the form to go with that in a Test match."

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