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Clues amid SL tour embarrassment: Lehmann

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016 Will Knight

Darren Lehmann believes the embarrassment of the Sri Lanka series whitewash has at least clarified selection policy change needed for Australia's daunting next subcontinental tour to India.

Sri Lanka's 163-run annihilation of Australia in the third Test in Colombo on Wednesday clinched a 3-0 series win and became the tourists' ninth straight loss in Asia.

Australia's coach Lehmann wasn't hiding his disappointment.

"That hurts," he said.

"We should be reasonably embarrassed by our performance in this series and that's OK.

"There's nothing wrong with that. It's not hiding the fact we didn't play well enough and we've got to improve. That's a simple fact."

The humbling follows a 2-0 loss to Pakistan in the UAE in 2014 and 4-0 hammering by hosts India in 2013.

Asked how much of a setback the hiding was for a side that entered the series as the No.1 Test side but slid down to No.3 within three-and-a-bit weeks, Lehmann preferred to interpret it as likely justification for changes for the four-Test tour of India in February-March.

"Setback in terms of results? Yes," he said.

"But the vision going forward is quite clear.

"We've got to change in the subcontinent. Results will say that with India, (Pakistan in) UAE and now Sri Lanka.

"We've got to change the way we pick and shape up the squad for a subcontinent (tour)."

Lehmann has spoken about a potential 'horses for courses' selection strategy in the future, where those batsmen who get runs on the fast, bouncy wickets over the Australian summer aren't certain to be retained for overseas tours on wickets that demand different skills.

It would be a big leap away from conventional selection.

There was at least a hint of a new mindset in the XI picked for the third Test in Colombo.

Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja scored piles of runs in Australasia last summer but, after struggling the most in the first two Tests, were dropped.

Shaun Marsh's first-innings 130 proved he's one who can skilfully cope with the spinners on the slow, dusty pitches of the subcontinent but Moises Henriques failed in both innings.

"We think we've had the right balance but our batters haven't made enough runs. It's pretty simple," said Lehmann.

"We talk about adaptability all the time. At the end of the day, you've got to do it.

On the spin bowling side, Lehmann noted it was tough for Jon Holland to come in at short notice as an injury replacement for Stephen O'Keefe.

However, he was stern about Nathan Lyon's tour after Australia's No.1 spinner failed to have anywhere near the same impact as Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera.

"Nathan has to be better," said Lehmann.

"That's one area we've certainly got to improve in the subcontinent."

Lehmann didn't rule out playing three spinners in an XI in India just as Sri Lanka did in all three Tests against Australia.

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