Ashes - Lehmann senses Australia progress

Australia believe they have spotted some "cracks" in England's batting line-up, which they hope will widen in the remainder of this summer's Ashes.

PA Sport
Ashes - Lehmann senses Australia progress
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Darren Lehmann has called on his Australia side to build on their performance in the third Test

The tourists can no longer regain the urn, after England kept an unassailable 2-0 lead via Monday's draw in the rain-affected third Investec Test at Emirates Old Trafford.

But Australia coach Darren Lehmann saw plenty of encouraging signs in his team's much-improved performance in Manchester and they feel they have started to find potential weaknesses in England's line-up.

Lehmann's own batsmen also stood up for the first time in the series, thanks largely to captain Michael Clarke's first-innings 187.

But asked if he senses their troubles are therefore behind them, as they head to Durham for the start of the next match on Friday, the coach was taking nothing for granted.

"We'll have to wait and see in the next Test, but I'm happy with the way they played," he said. "Obviously making a big hundred helps."

England did just that in their second-Test victory at Lord's, where Joe Root made 180, while Ian Bell contributed back-to-back centuries in the first two matches.

But despite acknowledging that, Lehmann said: "The first two Tests, Root got a big hundred and Bell's made a couple - but we've shown a couple of cracks in their batting, which is exciting for us as a bowling unit."

At the suggestion he must be talking specifically about England captain Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Jonny Bairstow - all of whom could do with a few more runs - he added: "It's not just those three.

"We have some great ideas about the other eight batters - which is good."

Australia's seam attack were impressive in Manchester, with Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle especially to the fore.

"I think we've bowled really well," said their coach.

"England made big runs in the second innings at Lord's, but that was because our batting was disappointing.

"We didn't make enough runs. So what we have to do is make sure their bowlers bowl a lot of overs.

"We saw what happens when their bowlers bowl a lot of overs, and that's what we need to do again."

Australia must win in Chester-le-Street to have any chance of even sharing the series and, to that end, the readiness or otherwise of the often fragile Harris for a back-to-back assignment will be significant.

"I think he's a reasonable chance," said Lehmann.

"If he'd bowled (a lot in the second innings in Manchester) I wouldn't think he would be a chance at all.

"For us the most important thing is actually backing that performance up again.

"Our last five days have been outstanding, putting England under pressure, and we would have won the Test match.

"So we're quite comfortable with that."

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon appeared threatening but could muster just one first-innings wicket, and was then robbed by Monday's rain of an extended opportunity to add to it.

Lehmann said: "It obviously spun a lot in the last two days, and so it would have been interesting to see how he went.

"I'm quite confident, with the way he was bowling, that we would have got the wickets.

"But, hey, you don't know, because we didn't finish the game."

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