London: Australia, who usually name their playing eleven before a match, are unlikely to reveal their side well ahead of the first Ashes Test against England beginning on Wednesday at Trent Bridge. "I think that's a real advantage for us," new Australia coach Darren Lehmann was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph on Sunday.
Shane Watson and Chris Rogers are expected to open the batting but captain Michael Clarke has refused to confirm that. One could also see Clarke batting at number four, a place higher than where he has been most successful. He scored 124 off 98 balls at number four in a warm-up game against Worcester. "We've spoken about five and four but where he bats, that is his [Clarke's] decision," Lehmann said.
Clarke, on his part, said he was open to changing his batting position. "I don't think I've ever said I'd prefer to be at five," said Clarke. "I've batted four my whole career in first-class cricket, batted five for Australia the past couple of years and had a bit of success there, but I've said for a long time I'll bat wherever it suits the team, and this series will be no different."
Australia coach Darren Lehmann and captain Michael Clarke during a training session. (Getty Images)
Clarke and Lehmann have expressed their desire to have David Warner back in the side post his one-month suspension. He could bat at six. Steve Smith is also now in the reckoning after doing well in the drawn tour match against Worcester, which ended on Saturday.
A certainty is Ed Cowan batting at number three, where he made a half-century in the first innings against Worcester. Lehmann, however, said there were no guarantees about Cowan's place in the side. "He got some runs in this game. You'd love him to make hundreds and put his position beyond doubt," said the former Australia allrounder. "He's made some runs and we'll just have to sit down and work out whether he's in that top six or not."
Lehmann added they had learnt from their mistakes they made in India where they were trounced 0-4. "We didn't play their spinners very well in India, full stop. So we've done a lot of work on that. We're not hiding from that. We've got to learn from that experience. That's a thing I wanted to bring to the table. We want to play a certain way against that type of bowling."