We should’ve made more runs in the first innings: Darren Lehmann
His team might have lost the first Test against Sri Lanka, but Darren Lehmann has opted to count the positives from the game. Praising the bowlers for dismissing the hosts in both the innings the former batsman said that the results will start to come once the batsmen start backing the bowlers. Emphasising on the need for big first-innings runs, Lehmann said that the batsmen need to be better at decision-making.
After dismissing the hosts for a paltry total of 117, the Aussie batsmen failed to take a big lead and were dismissed for 203. Chasing a target of 268, the visitors once again faltered and were dismissed for only 161 handing Sri Lanka a win of 106 runs.
“They’ve got to be better at decision-making,” Lehmann told 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 to set up games, and that was what we needed to do.
“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.
In an attempt to improve their record in the subcontinent, Australia took all possible measures. The team from down under hired the services of former Sri Lankan players Thilan Samaraweera and Muttiah Muralitharan to get an insight of the local conditions. The team management also sent some players to Chennai prior to the series to get a feel of the subcontinent pitches. And Lehmann said that the team management could not have done anything else in terms of preparation.
“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 started but no-one got on with it, we had partnerships but no one had a big one, which is something we have done really well in the last 12 months – we have had big partnerships. That’s a challenge for the batting group, getting through those tough times.
“Now they have seen [Lakshan] Sandakan, it is going to be a lot easier to play and Herath is obviously a very quality bowler. They have got to work out a plan. We have talked about it a lot so they know what to do, it’s just executing more than anything else.
The second match of the three-match series starts from August 4.
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