Australia left playing for a draw thanks to Cook’s ‘fantastic’ double century: Lehmann
It takes a dire situation for an Australian cricket team to write itself off, but coach Darren Lehmann has admitted Australia's best hope at the MCG is a draw.
Alastair Cook's remarkable, unbeaten 244 — in combination with half-centuries from Joe Root and Stuart Broad — has taken the game away from the hosts after only three days of the fourth Test, with England's lead out to 164 at the close of play on Wednesday.
Though famously a very positive and aggressive coach, Lehmann admits the game is now beyond Australia.
"It's tough to see any other scenario other than a draw or England win," Lehmann said.
"It's going to take us a long time to get past them, to be perfectly honest. So really our job is to bat a lot of overs and do exactly what they've just done to us.
"For us, you never say never, but we're a long way behind in the game, so for us it's about batting as long as we possibly can, and see where the game takes us."
The Australian bowlers have toiled for the best part of two days for little reward, struggling to extract life from a pitch that has faced criticism for its lifelessness.
Lehmann felt sympathy for his bowlers, who he said tried everything throughout day three to find something in the wicket.
"We tried, it was really hard. Obviously it's not going through at all," he said.
"Broad got 56 and we couldn't really do too much there either — we tried to bounce him as much as we possibly can, but if there's no pace in the wicket it makes it hard.
"So when you've got quicks like Cummins who can't get it up it makes it a bit hard, but then you've got to bowl tight as well.
"You'd like a bit more pace and bounce in it, there's no doubt about that."
But despite Australia's struggles, Lehmann was most keen to praise the batting of Cook.
"It's a fantastic achievement, he's batted bloody well the whole day, didn't he?"
Emotional Cook bounces back after 'embarrassing' tour
The Test has been dominated by Cook, who has been on the field for every single minute if play.
If his batting on the second evening was dogged and determined, his performance on day three was completely relentless, grounding Australia down before piling the runs on as the sun set.
The criticism he has faced throughout the series seems a distant memory and, even though he admits the runs have come too late, Cook acknowledged the significance of the innings.
"Last night was quite an emotional 20 minutes really," Cook said.
"From where I've been on this tour, obviously getting a hundred didn't count for much if I didn't back it up today.
"In Perth, I said to Broady I had been embarrassed by my performances.
"I know it's a little bit too late for the Ashes, but it's nice to contribute to a good day."
The double ton was the highest score ever made by a visiting batsman at the MCG, eclipsing Viv Richards' previous record of 208.
Cook has a long history of blasting bowlers to all corners of Australian grounds, but believes this knock — given it came when the chips were down — is among his best ever.
"It's right up there. Yesterday I was quite emotional after I got that hundred because I had to dig real deep," he said.
"It's nice to know, actually, that when things aren't going well you can pull it out of the fire, and I think that's quite a nice thing to be able to say you can do."
The post Australia left playing for a draw thanks to Cook's 'fantastic' double century: Lehmann appeared first on News Wire Now.