Lehmann ‘pretty happy’ with Bancroft’s contribution

Australia coach Darren Lehmann has backed under-pressure opener Cameron Bancroft to come good at the highest level, ahead of the Aussies’ next Test tour to South Africa in March.

Having just comprehensively beaten England in the Ashes at home, Australia have already set their sights on the Proteas where they will play four Tests, starting in Durban on 1 March.

The only major spot in the starting XI that could be up for debate is Bancroft’s position at the top of the order after the 25-year-old only scored 179 runs in the five Ashes Tests, with him only going past fifty once – on Test debut in Brisbane where scored 82 not out.

The coach has though been impressed with the starts the team has been getting with the bat from the opening pair, which includes the experienced David Warner., and declared himself “pretty happy” with Western Australian Bancroft.

Lehmann said: “I’ve been impressed with the way he’s gone about it with Davey Warner.

“He would like bigger scores, as you always would as a batsman, but some of our starts have been exceptional, especially early on in the series, apart from Adelaide.

“For me you’ve got a young guy there learning his craft, he’s got a great work ethic.

“So for me moving forward, end of the day, it’ll come down to selectors but he’s a good young kid, works hard; we’re pretty happy with him.”

With no domestic first-class cricket to be played before the trip to South Africa, Bancroft could get a stay of execution as his challenges will no have games to impress the selectors.

Australia captain Steve Smith also wants the Aussies to show continuity in selection moving forward, especially with younger players.

Smith said about Bancroft: “He’s a good young player, he’s a great character and he’s got a terrific work ethic and the more he plays he’s going to continue to improve and get better.

“If the selectors keep the faith, and I hope they do, then it’ll only be good for him and good for the group.”