Coach Darren Lehmann has warned Australia’s faltering batsmen that careers are on the line after their spectacular collapse in the fourth Test handed England a third consecutive Ashes series victory.
Australia lost nine wickets in an elongated final session, after initially seeming well-placed in their pursuit of 299 for a win to keep the series alive.
But instead of heading for the final Test at the Kia Oval next week with a shot at a 2-2 series draw, Australia’s batsmen will instead be tasked with resuscitating their international careers after the damaging 74-run loss.
Lehmann blasted his middle order — Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin who all fell in a mad hour inspired by Stuart Broad — before promising only captain Michael Clarke and opener Chris Rogers safety from the chop.
Asked if careers where in jeopardy, Lehmann said: “Yep, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m happy for you to write whatever it is that you write there.
“To play for Australia, you’ve got to perform at a level that is acceptable for everyone in our team and also for the Australian public and the media.
“At the moment we’re not doing that, so blokes have got to perform at a level we expect. “We’ve lost clumps of wickets which have really hurt us full stop. Blokes are missing straight ones, that doesn’t help.
“We have to learn from our mistakes. We didn’t learn from probably (the first Test at) Trent Bridge when we got bowled out in similar circumstances so from our point of view, the blokes have got to learn.
“If they don’t learn, we’ll find blokes that will. “No-one’s guaranteed (their place). Apart from probably Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers.”
Rogers and Clarke sit only behind Ian Bell in the list of run scorers in this series and, most tellingly, are the only specialist Australia batsmen to have scored a century in 2013.