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Revitalise Aussie cricket pitches: Lehmann

AAP logoAAP 9/08/2016 By Will Knight

As the search for answers on the sub-continent goes on, Darren Lehmann has repeated his call for Australian pitches to reclaim their original character to produce well-rounded cricketers ready for arduous Test tours.

It's three days since Australia suffered their first series loss in 17 years to Sri Lanka in Galle, where a 229-run hammering continued a horror tour and extended their streak of away defeats against sub-continental teams to eight.

In fact, Australia have won just one Test match in the region since 2006 - losing 12 of 17 with four draws.

Australia certainly have tried to address the issue, including a longer-than-usual preparation for the Sri Lanka tour, some players working at the academy in Brisbane on spin-specific planning and hiring local legend Muttiah Muralitharan as a consultant bowling coach.

Australian coach Lehmann and captain Steve Smith have both made no excuses, and accept changes must be considered if they're to stop the rot in Asia.

After the second-Test mauling, Smith said maybe Australia needed to pick the six best batsmen against spin, given pace bowling is all but buried in the region - at least against the Aussies.

And, a somewhat sentimental Lehmann has, not for the first time, called for Australia's first-class pitches to revert to their former nature.

When Lehmann was making his way in Sheffield Shield cricket in the late 80s and early 90s, the wickets across the country were varied and exposed batsmen and bowlers to steep bounce, seam movement, subtle spin, significant spin and even flat, dry and lifeless conditions.

In the past 10 years, those wickets have largely become homogenous, meaning when young Australians tour overseas, they're often ill-equipped to cope.

Australia's susceptibility to seam and swing in England has been brutally unmasked in recent tours.

"I think we have said for a while that we would like the Shield wickets to go back a little bit in time where they are all different," Lehmann said in Galle.

"You had Perth which was grassy and bouncy and went through and swung, and Brisbane seamed and Adelaide reversed and spun and Sydney spun from day one.

"But the problem we've got now is we've got drop-in (pitches) at a couple of grounds - it's hard to do."

Lehmann reflected fondly on his own career when growing up on different Aussie wickets led him to making quality Test runs in places such as Rawalpindi, Galle, Adelaide, Nagpur, Trinidad and Colombo.

"If you have those wickets seam and some spin, it made it a good upbringing when I played," said Lehmann.

"That was a great learning curve for you."

AUSTRALIA'S RECENT AWAY TEST RECORD AGAINST SRI LANKA, INDIA AND PAKISTAN:

* 2016 v Sri Lanka - three-Test series 2-0 down with one Test to go

* 2014 v Pakistan (in UAE) - two-Test series lost 2-0

* 2013 v India - four-Test series lost 4-0

* 2011 v Sri Lanka - three-Test series won 1-0

* 2010 v India - two-Test series lost 2-0

* 2008 v India - four-Test series lost 2-0

* 2006 v Bangladesh - two-Test series won 2-0

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