Cricket Australia Items/Blogs/darren-lehmann/2013/7/17/one-percenters-make-a-difference

Darren Lehmann

One per centers make a difference

17 July 2013 27

Straight off the bat, can I say what an honour and privilege it was to have coached my first Test for Australia in the Ashes.

The hype, theatre and spectacle blew away all my expectations.

Sitting back now after letting it all sink in, I had so much fun the whole time and am really proud of the effort everyone put in, from the players, coaching staff and everyone involved.

Now the challenge is to replicate that and to keep improving. If we can manage that, this team will be fine.

We knew it was going to be tough coming up against a world-class opponent like England.

Since I’ve come in, the team has bought into everything I’m about and the team is about, with the results so far so good.

The fight we showed during the difficult times over the five days in Nottingham is what pleased us most.

At certain times we could have rolled over and died, but instead we stuck to our plans and processes, and more importantly the belief that we’re moving in the right direction.

We're all about attacking, entertaining cricket. Moving the game forward and being in control is the way we want to go about our cricket.

Positive intent wins you more games then it loses. Fans pay good money to come watch our athletes perform and I’d like to think they got their money’s worth over the five days of the first Test. I know if we had scored 15 more runs I would have got mine!

As far as the squad is concerned, we’re pretty happy with the way we bowled at Trent Bridge. What is a concern is losing clumps of wickets. Too often in recent times we have seen positions of power lost in the space of a few overs.

We need to become a big batting team. It’s been four Tests since an Australian made a hundred, which is not good enough with the talent we have in our squad. We need guys making hundreds and when that happens we’ll start making big scores that our bowlers can bowl to.

It’s impossible to recreate the tension and atmosphere in the nets, but what we can do is prepare our players with what they’re going to encounter. For example, we have a swing net for guys like Jimmy Anderson, and seam net for Finn and Broad, and an off-spin net for Graeme Swann.

There will be moments of pressure throughout every Test match and our job as coaches is to equip the players with the tools to get through the tough times. The encouraging aspect is that we were only at 70% in the first Test. Once we get those one per centers right we’re going to be a very difficult unit to beat.

Speaking of one per centers, on tour we hand out two jackets at the end of each match.

The first, a smart gold number, goes to the Man of the Match, the second a sporty pink blazer. The pink goes to the person who has performed those extra one per centers over the course of the week, going out of their way to make sure everyone is as prepared as they can be for the match at hand.

There was no one better than Nathan Lyon over the first Test. In what would have been a difficult time for him, he showed what the team is all about, assisting everybody and really taking young Ash Agar under his wing. A team man through and through.

In his first Test, Ashton Agar was rightfully awarded the gold MoM jacket.

It’s hard to recall a more dramatic debut by a teenager in such a big match. The whole of Australia, and by the end most of England, was cheering for his century, but it wasn’t meant to be.

While we’re proud of his 98 and we’ll take it every time, however he was selected in the side to take wickets and it was great to seem him bowl really well.

He kept things tight which allowed Michael Clarke to dictate terms at certain stages of the match. The wickets of Cook and Bairstow were magnificent  and he was unlucky not to have a third. He’ll perform even better with a game under his belt, so watch out Lord’s!

Australia’s home away from home, Lord’s, is a ground like no other.

We’re going to have to be extremely disciplined if we are to walk away with the win.

The atmosphere, the slope, the occasion are all things we’ll need to combat if we are to be successful.

It’s no secret we’ve had arguably the best bowler at Lord’s in Glenn McGrath at training, talking to our fast bowlers on how to cope with slope and get England’s batsmen out. Glenn has been terrific and has provided some excellent feedback for the boys.

Finally, I just want to thank everyone for the overwhelming support I’ve received since I’ve become coach, especially since the start of the first Test.

People on Twitter, on the street, friends and family have all been kind and positive, not just to me but to the whole team.

Your support means the world to us, so thank you from everybody in the squad and the support staff. Let’s hope my next blog will be talking about a win!


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
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