Hobart - Australia
coach Darren Lehmann said his team would have to improve their fragile
batting against the swinging ball after another crisis against
South Africa in the second Test in Hobart on Saturday.
Australia suffered another one of their abject batting collapses in
succumbing to the Proteas for just 85 off 32.5 overs, their lowest total
at home against South Africa.
The tourists reached stumps at 171 for five and a lead of 86 runs after the first day.
The clatter of wickets again revived painful memories of recent
catastrophic batting collapses which have plagued the team under
Lehmann's reign as coach.
The capitulation revisited the nightmares of their miserable 47 in
Cape Town in 2011 and England's demolition of them for 60 at Trent
Bridge last year.
"For us we have just got to be better. It's a case of when the ball
is swinging we struggle," Lehmann told reporters after the opening day's
"There is no hiding from the fact, so we have been doing everything
behind the scenes to get better at it, but today we weren't good at all.
"Steve Smith played really well for his unbeaten 48 and we needed someone to hang in with him.
"Obviously our lower order haven't performed either but you can't blame them, the batters have to do the batting."
Lehmann insisted that Australia have the right squad amid criticism
of the selectors over a losing run of four successive Tests this year.
"We believe this is best squad we've got to play, on today's performance you would say we've got to change," he said.
"But at the end of the day we've got to find a way to get through
those tough periods and we haven't done that in the last four and a half
"That's the challenge for not only the coaching group and myself but
also the players to adapt to the situations that confront you."
Steve Smith's team have been under immense scrutiny after their
emphatic 177-run loss to South Africa in the first Perth Test, and the
latest batting collapse has only added to the mounting pressure on the
The Hobart rout followed Australia's first innings collapse of 10
wickets for 86 in Perth when they squandered a 158-run opening stand to
surrender meekly to the Proteas.
"Once we have a collapse we seem to have a big one and someone needs
to stop that rot and have a partnership somewhere, that was
disappointing," Lehmann said.
"There is a lot of criticism and that's warranted when you lose or when you play badly, and that's fine."