Lehmann cracks wise over ‘English wickets’

Will the third Ashes Test be played in Birmingham or Bangalore?

That’s what Darren Lehmann wants to know, with the Australia coach firing back at assertions from the England camp that the Lord’s wicket, which was witness to a crushing, series-levelling Australian victory, was not “English” enough.

After being humbled inside four days at Lord’s and watching his bowlers toil in unfavourable conditions on a low, flat wicket, England captain Alastair Cook called for a more lively deck to be prepared for the third Test in Edgbaston – or as he described it, more “English”.

It followed comments from paceman Stuart Broad, the home side’s leading wicket taker with nine, that star Australian batsman Steve Smith had yet to prove himself in England conditions because “these are more Indian conditions than English conditions, aren’t they?”

The whole debate has Lehmann feeling a little more travel weary than should be expected this early in a five-Test series.

“We’re in London aren’t we?” he quipped.

“(This is) Lord’s? Where we going next? Birmingham?

“I don’t know what (Cook) means by that.”

In fact, Lehmann says he’s definitely seen these types of wickets before – and it wasn’t in India.

It was in his first series as coach, during the 2013 Ashes, when his outfit had to contend with decks as dusty as those found in Delhi.

England aimed to take advantage of Australia’s issues playing spin, while leaning on the crafty offspin of the now-retired Graeme Swann.

The tactic worked, with Swann taking a series-high 26 wickets as England won the series 3-0.

“At the end of the day there’s been the same wickets since the five Tests in 2013 and the first two here have been exactly the same,” Lehmann said.

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