England so strong in all areas but Aussies rediscovering swagger

 
Andy Lloyd
ONE thing Australia lacked in the last days of former coach Mickey Arthur was any kind of confidence, but there are signs that, since taking over last week, Darren Lehmann is rectifying that fundamental problem.

They batted with flashes of the old swagger in the six-wicket win at Somerset, in Lehmann’s first match in charge, while the ongoing tour match at Worcester has seen a long overdue century from Shane Watson.

Let’s not forget they have missed Michael Clarke too, but the signs are that he and Lehmann have drawn a line under what went before and rallied the dressing room by telling them they all have clean slates.

Whatever they have said, it is working. If they keep playing well that confidence will only grow – and a confident Australian is a dangerous Australian.

While the warm-up matches have been of comfort to the tourists, they have also underlined England’s strength in depth, and few more so than dropped Somerset batsman Nick Compton.

He can probably count himself a little unlucky to be left out, but the fact is that he is 30 and Joe Root, who has taken his place, is 22 and a product of the England system who is potentially a huge star.

Compton, however, has scored 81, 34 and 79 in his three innings since discovering his fate, and, along with a revitalised Ravi Bopara, represents very useful, experienced back-up should England need it.

It was encouraging to see Graeme Swann in the wickets yesterday. With dry weather and hot temperatures on the horizon, or so I’m told, he looks sure to be key against the Aussies.

Andy Lloyd is a former England Test cricketer. He has also been captain and chairman of Warwickshire.