Sydney - Australian coach Darren Lehmann has hailed captain
Steve Smith as "Bradman-like" after a hard-fought and fiery Test tour
against India, while praising the entire "impressive" team.
India won the bad-tempered series 2-1 after a thumping
eight-wicket win in Dharamsala this week, with tensions frequently boiling
Smith, who struck a conciliatory tone at the end after
run-ins with his opposite number Virat Kohli, led from the front, scoring three
hundreds among his 499 runs in four Tests.
Lehmann said he had not only been "brilliant" with
the bat, but also showed leadership which could see him become one of the great
modern Test captains.
"He's been unbelievable. He's been Bradman-like with
the bat but all the stuff behind the scenes has been exceptional," the
coach said in comments on the Cricket Australia website Thursday, referring to
legendary Australian Don Bradman.
"Really pleased for him and what he's brought to the
team as a leader. Three hundreds in four Test matches is pretty special."
Despite the fireworks, and the series defeat, it was a
positive tour for Australia, just months after they suffered one of the worst
runs in their history.
Lehmann, speaking from India, said he was really happy with
how the team performed in Indian conditions and under intense pressure.
"The way they've gone about it has been impressive.
They (the Australia team) have been young, they've been up against it, the
pitches have been as we would expect," he said.
"There's a lot of learnings in this group over this
"They're all hurting and disappointed for the result
but really pleased with the effort and the attitude and trying to change the
way we play here. "
But it was Smith who was the standout for Lehmann, who
played under former Test skippers Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.
He praised his tactical mind and evolution as a leader,
suggesting he could be captain for years more having assumed the mantle from
"Yeah, I think so," Lehmann said when asked if he
could prove to be at least the equal of Taylor, Waugh and Ponting.
"He's a different leader to Michael, to Ricky, to Mark
Taylor, to Steve Waugh," he said.
"And he's working out his own identity as a captain.
But I've been proud of him; everyone has been proud of him. So, pleased with
where he is going and he'll just get better and better."