Cricket: 'Boof' behind Australia’s Ashes turnaround

Cricket: 'Boof' behind Australia’s Ashes turnaround
Australian batsman George Bailey (R) chats with team coach Darren Lehmann (L) during training.

PERTH - Australia's dramatic turnaround to dominate England and win back the Ashes just months after a 3-0 series defeat to their traditional rivals has largely been attributed to the man they call "Boof".

Darren Lehmann has been the instigator of a reinvigoration of Australian cricket in just six months, since stepping into the hot seat vacated by the sudden sacking of Mickey Arthur.

The 43-year-old, who played 27 Tests from 1998 to 2004, has always been credited with a razor-sharp cricket mind. He saw enough during the July-August series in England to detect weaknesses in the England batsmen which he sought to exploit in the back-to-back series.

Lehmann raised eyebrows when he observed towards the back-end of the last series: "We've shown some cracks in their batting which is exciting for us as a bowling unit.Has the momentum shifted? I think it has but only time will tell."

They were to prove prescient words as Lehmann got down to work devising plans for each English batsman. These were implemented to devastating effect by Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle.

Australia stymied skipper Alastair Cook's scoring shots on the leg side, while Kevin Pietersen was forced into errors by the nagging consistency ofSiddle. Ian Bell's favoured late cut to third man, his chief scoring area when he made three centuries in the English series, was dried up.

Matt Prior was denied width and Australia's bowlers were told to bounce the tailenders. By the Perth Test the England team had largely disintegrated.

Lehmann wanted to take Australian cricket back to the golden eras of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, the Chappells and Steve Waugh of the 1970-80s.

He insisted on aggressive, in-your-face cricket and no one embraced this more avidly than Johnson, who disconcerted the England batsmen with his terrifying short-pitched bowling.

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