Sri Lanka v Australia – 2nd Test, Galle: A full time batting assistant coach?

“No time frame, but if we keep batting like this, it’ll be a bit quicker.”
– Darren Lehmann when asked about Australia’s search for a full-time batting assistant coach, after their heavy defeat in Galle.


Sri Lanka 281 (Mendis 86, Mathews 54, Starc 5/44)
Australia 106 (Warner 42, D Perera 4/29, Herath 4/35)
Sri Lanka 237 (D Perera 64, Starc 6/50)
Australia 183 (Warner 41, D Perera 6/70)


Scene: Galle, Sri Lanka; a garrulous and inquisitive tourist stumbles upon the Australian coaching flotilla as the 2nd innings, and match, and series, flops to its conclusion.


“G’day, mate. Are you a coach?”

“When they’re in form, they don’t even think about it. It’s instinct.”

“What is?”


“Ahh. Those times must be difficult for the batting coach.”


“Sorry. For the batting coaches.”

“Nah, it’s fine. We just sit back and watch.”

“Oh yeah?”

“And make digital copies, obviously, for our internal analysis. For the pump-up videos.”



“You’d be busy now, though, hey?”

“Nah, you just have to ride out these slumps.”

“Ride them out? You’ve been dismissed for 106 and you’re 5/80 in the second dig. If you lose this Test, the series is gone.”

“The wheel will turn. We’ll be leaving these crappy decks soon.”

“There’s still one more Test after this.”

“Yep, only one more Test.”



“But surely you offer something as a batting coach?”

“Of course, mate. I’ve spent my life around the system.”

“Show us something.”

“Alright. Look at this replay. His bottom hand is a bit low.”

“Is it? He’s made a lot of runs. He’s made them at State level over many years, at club level, as a junior. He knows how to make runs.”

“Yeah, but his bottom hand is just a bit low. Look.”

“He was picked in the team because he makes runs.”

“Yeah, but he’ll get found out at this level.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes I do. That’s my job.”



“It’s your job to fix something that has not been proven as broken, on the basis of a speculative and untestable hypothesis?”

“I wouldn’t say untestable.”

“So what will you do? Have him make adjustments to his technique?”

“Sure. He needs to bring that bottom hand up.”

“So now he’ll be concentrating on his bottom hand rather than on the ball being delivered.”

“He can do it.”

“But what if you let him go – let him bat using his own personal technique?”

“Sorry – what?”



“Don’t worry – what about mental approaches to batting? Look at that dismissal.”

“It’s the way he plays.”

“But do you teach about context of a match, of a series?”

“Nah, he just needs to concentrate.”

“That shot simply wasn’t on.”


“Nah, he just needs to get himself in. Choose your balls.”

“But that is rubbish decision-making. And it’s a pattern of behaviour.”

“He’s hitting them well in the nets. And he’s a great bloke.”


“And his old man is a great bloke.”

“But his behaviour needs to change. We can all see that.”


“No, it’s a choice.”

“Nah, it’s the way he plays. He was stiff.”

“Did you give him any advice before he went out there?”

“Just to really make an effort to lift his bottom hand.”

“Uh huh.”

“And to play his natural game.”



Sri Lanka won by 229 runs

Sri Lanka 2 – Australia 0, with 1 Test to play.


FAlmanac banner sq

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He is married and has two daughters and the four of them all live together with their dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. Citrus Bob says

    Thank You David
    it is not that long ago that CA sent 7 or 8 coaches to the US for some reason! Obvious it had nothing to do with cricket as we have not won a Test since.
    As I said the other day when are we going to look at our young talented cricketers and give them a chance in the big time. Ferguson, Zampa, Handscomb, Head, Bancroft should all be playing test cricket and what about our Pakistani import who CA said would be a champion. He more or less won the shield for Victoria last season but has been cast aside. Easily the best leggie in Oz.
    Don’t get me started!
    There are so many back room boys now that they have to do something to keep their jobs.
    Let’ start at the top and ask the question what does Darren Lehmann? Seems to me that he spends most of his time offering excuses. Next what does Pat Howard do?
    From my observations of closeTest watching (very closely) over many years the only one who seems to have a real job is Frank DiMasi the security man who does a fantastic job made doubly hard by the fact that there are more hangeronerers than actual players. Have a look next time you are at a Test match.
    CA is too top heavy. Let’s get back to the basics and pick cricketers on their ability when they first come to notice. Not put them in a cocoon to be cloned.

  2. Well said ER and Citrus. Flat track bullies and bash artists – the lot of them. Lost as soon as they get off the true bouncing decks in Australia, and find something that swings, seams or spins.
    Test cricket used to mean something, now it just fills in time between the big money short form.
    I nearly gagged when I read Boofwit saying that we needed a full time batting coach. What does he do??? Must be the left arm orthodox spin coach.
    Pigs at the trough as Citrus rightly puts it.

  3. thank god for youtube. the last refuge of proper batting.

  4. E.regnans says

    Love your observations following many Tests, Citrus.
    It is striking enough to witness the conga line at the annual Melbourne Test.
    Hard to credit that this circus travels the world.

    PB – I think yours is a common (and growing) view.

    PW – sepia tones for life often help.

    The dichotomy of technical fiddling versus psychological apologising continues.
    To what end..?

  5. Whilst we’re on the topic of batting i’m intrigued if John Holland plays another test, to score a run!

    There have been a few test players whose career finished on no runs. Paul “Blocker” Wilson played a test in India in 1998. Like Holland he was recorded twice in the score book, 0 not out. In his only test Simon Davis scored a duck in his only test innings. tHere were others earlier like the Victorian batsmen Roy Park bowled by the only ball he received.

    So yes, re a batting coach, what can he achieve, well getting a test run for John Holland would be a good start .


  6. Citrus Bob says

    don’t start on John Holland!
    Australian selectors always delight in picking some one from no where to play Test cricket.
    As I said what about Zampa, Doherty who have plied their trade at the top level ? And I still believe that many don’t think Lyon is good enough.

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    One thing that’s always puzzled me is that we supposedly pick bowlers to suit sub continental conditions, yet go in with the same batting line up. PSP Handscomb & GJ Bailey arguably play spin better than anyone in Australia. Dare I say it, SE Marsh has done well in SL before and made a ton in one of the lead up games.
    A rethink of our methods is needed, or the 4 Tests we play in India in February/Marchnext year could be very ugly.

  8. Peter Flynn says

    An heroic effort by the Australians to force the Test into a 3rd day.

    They slog.

    They reverse sweep.

    And they sledge.

    I couldn’t be prouder.

    And rather than People’s Champion Rudd, Turnbull should have Lehmann as our UN Secretary General nom.

    Remember the lovely words he had to say about the Sri Lankans a few years ago.

    Describing of a Bill Leak cartoon.

  9. Citrus Bob says

    PJF – perhaps you could entice your Sri Lankan friend Marvin Vaas to take over as assistant batting coach?

    Apologies to John Holland while I am at it. It was not his fault that the Australian selectors picked him.

    Luke R – have looked at going to India next year to cover the Tests for The Almanac. Should I withdraw my deposit now?

  10. Spot on OBP couldn’t agree more and also Luke it is ludicrous to have picked this top 6 ! Geez Bild Freddie can tell you Burns,Voges and M Marsh are not anywhere near the best players of spin bowling plus the stupidity of a severely underdone,Warner bizarre,ludicrous,incompetent etc

  11. Valid point rule book but who would you have as a top six in the sub continent ?

    As we’ve lost 8 in a row on these turners we clearly never pick our top 6 to suit sub continent conditions .


  12. Honestly, a full-time batting coach?
    Remember: these guys are all involved in state programs, which all have a full time coach and a number of assistants. Then, when with the national set-up they have Boof and all the others.
    Call me simple, but by the time a batsman makes the Australian Test team surely he should know his game pretty well. Any minor tweaks could be handled by Lehmann.

  13. Happy to join the chorus deriding the Australians’ “commitment” and possible radical option of choosing players suited to conditions, but the First Test was a gripping match, a true “Test” and “good for the game”. Sri Lanks, insipid in England, promoted some new blood and found a ripper in Mendis and also debuts Sandakan, a terrific left-arm spin foil for Herath (don’t start me on Lyon’s limitations by comparison). It was a great week for Test Cricket if you also followed the remarkable draw achieved by the Windies on the back of a Sobersesque performance by Roston Chase.

  14. Citrus – I imagine that a cricket trip to India would be an incredible life experience, whatever the on-field goings-on. To walk the streets, taste, see, smell, hear the life… It would probably be even better to see competitive Test matches.

    Luke, OBP, Glan – it’s a good point. Horses for courses is justified in other sports. And for bowlers, as you say.

    PJF – there’s an argument for including an element of “character” in representative selections.

    Smokie – and this is for the full time ASSISTANT batting coach, no less.
    The whole caravan of coaches seems to exist so as to justify their own existences. It”s a loop. You need me, I’ll show you that you need me by creating a problem where none exists. I’ll treat the problem. While you pay me.

    Crio – terrific for Sri Lanka. Really good to see a come-from-behind Test victory, too. All credit to them.

  15. Don’t worry. They’ll be fine back in Oz this summer with proper concrete pitches.

  16. well they should be made to bowl with compo balls and field on dusty fields, with tiny little flags missing their fabric marking the boundary, grounds overlapping so you spend most of your time at backstop making sure you didn’t cop one in the ankle from the other pitch

    they want to play like kids, they can play like kids.

  17. top 6 for 3rd test:

    M Waugh
    I Chappell
    K Hughes
    A Border
    M Clarke
    M Hussey

  18. Citrus Bob says

    Keep it going League of extraordinary Gentlemen!
    Now the Boofster wants different pitches around Australia to counter the opposition. Now I know he and Les B are good mates so why don’t you put Les in as assistant batting coach as well.
    Pity he doesn’t read The Footy Almanac to get the real reflection on Australian Cricket at the moment.
    He is getting more and more like a couple of high profile footy coaches.
    Notice T.Head has been called in to the squad what about P.Handscomb after his great knock in Townsville? Nah! too much commonsense in that.
    Crio – do we need a Royal Commission or even better an ATT (Almanac Think Tank). I can imagine the ATT would have people flocking to the great game.

Leave a Comment