Lehmann: We could have won the Ashes

Australia

Australia coach Darren Lehmann feels his players learned a lot during the recent Ashes series, maybe more than England did, and reckons the Aussies will be tough to beat when the urn goes Down Under later this year.

Australia coach Darren Lehmann feels his players learned a lot during the recent Ashes series, maybe more than England did, and reckons the Aussies will be tough to beat when the urn goes Down Under later this year.

England won the Ashes three-nil, with two Tests drawn, but Lehmann thinks his players had more leading moments and now need to learn how to turn their advantage into a winning results, rather than letting it slip away.

Lehmann told the <i>Sunday Times</i>: "Both teams have found out a lot about each other and the next series is going to be another great one. Even though this series ended 3-0 it could easily have been 3-2 to Australia, or 2-2.

"We got more out of it than they did and we're going to be at home. There will be a lot more pluses from our side. We've learnt enough to win the next series, we did enough to win this series if we hadn't lost wickets at crucial times. When you are in front [on first innings] in four out of five Tests, you'd normally win a couple of those.

"Going for a win at The Oval was a long shot. The captain thought we could bowl them out. We had to give England something they could chase because they'd been going at two runs an over the whole series.

"If they hadn't gone for it they'd have got booed off the ground. We wanted to put them under pressure, and we did."

He added: "We've just got to improve winning those crucial moments. When you start winning, everything becomes easier. Once we get over that hurdle we'll be fine. Durham was frustrating.

"We were 168 for two. We should have won it for maybe one or two more wickets down. We need to get better at holding those periods where someone like Broad is on a roll.

"The moments I regret are the four wickets we lost on the first night of the series and the five we lost the next day after Steve Smith and Phil Hughes had batted well, those two periods and one session at Durham.

"We were outplayed at Lord's, no excuses there, we were just poor. But in those other two games we had chances to control the game, in the way we did at Old Trafford and The Oval.

"I read the boys the riot act at Lord's but ranting and raving only gets you so far. I prefer to rant and rave when we're winning and should have won easier. That makes more of an impact. It's been more about talking about how we're going to improve."

Given he was given the job just two weeks before the Ashes, replacing Mickey Arthur, Lehmann said he didn't think he deserved any praise, but also felt the players were moving in the right direction.

He said: "I'm not sure I could give myself a pass mark because we didn't win the Ashes but in terms of where we want to get to it is a pass mark because we had to change things regarding how we wanted to play and the values we wanted to get back to.

"I can't complain about the work ethic of the players. I'm pleased with the way they've taken to the hard-nosed approach we wanted to go for. We played some good, hard cricket.

"There was a lot of changing in the batting order, which happens when you don't have success. You're just searching for the right mix. I think we're pretty close now."

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