Watching parts of Australia’s match against Somerset, I notice a change.
I can say that the Australian batting line-up does not look like a nervous 15 year old meeting his girlfriend’s dad for the first time.
Understandably they aren’t facing England here but Australia has not wickets in huge bundles during this match.
We have only had the one player, in Ed Cowan, not making double figures in this match, getting out for three in the first innings but did return with a 46 in the second.
Last summer the entire batting line-up seemingly relied on Michael Clarke.
If he failed then the line-up collapsed around him.
However, even when Clarke got out for 45 in the first innings the Australians continued playing well with Hughes finishing not out on 76.
In my view Darren Lehmann has instilled confidence to the players in the batting line-up. Guys like Hughes, Khawaja and Watson are all confidence players.
Down on confidence and they collapse. However Khawaja is seemingly very confident; scoring 27 and 73. Too often in the past he’d get a start in the first innings and then go cheaply in the second.
Phil Hughes has scored back-to-back 50s with Watson scoring 90 in his only dig so far.
Lehmann is reportedly a very affable coach who can come down hard when needed. He has introduced the fun into cricket again according to Watson, bringing in a joke of the day and the players have a chat at the end of each day.
In that type of environment it’s very hard not to be confident and happy. It appeared that under Arthur it became an arduous task for the players.
They didn’t enjoy their cricket and it showed in a lack of confidence they had. For the sake of this year’s Ashes I hope the Australian team continue improving and their confidence steadily growing.