Ashes: Australia coach Darren Lehmann says early Ashes honours shared
Australia coach Darren Lehmann was in upbeat mood after an incident-packed opening day of the Ashes series in Nottingham
Last Updated: 11/07/13 11:00am
Lehmann, in charge of the side for only 17 days following the shock sacking of Mickey Arthur, watched his new charges bowl England out for 215 in Nottingham before reducing Australia to 75-4 to leave the match finely poised.
"It's even stevens," Lehmann said. "Tomorrow is going to be a really big day and we are going to need to bat well.
"We're here to play for the Ashes and I'm confident in the way we're going to play.
"Anyone who left the game today would have been pretty impressed with both sides. We're very pleased to bowl them out for 215 and it probably should have been cheaper. But we're here to play, no doubt about it.
"Hopefully the odds (on an Australia win) will come down."
Fast bowler Peter Siddle led the Australia attack and claimed five wickets for only 50 runs to prevent the home side running up a big first innings score after captain Alistair Cook won the toss and elected to bat.
Lehmann welcomed the veteran Victorian seamer's know how which helped settle down an inexperienced Ashes touring party.
He added: "We needed an experienced head and Peter gave us that. The younger guys were a bit over-excited with the new ball but Peter stood up and did really well. I was really pleased for him."
Australia came into the series as huge underdogs after poor performances on the pitch and a series of off-field controversies but the appointment of the popular Lehmann as coach appears to have galvanised the team.
The tourists looked likely to secure a first-innings lead but lost four early wickets before reaching 75-4 at stumps on the first day.
"We were really pleased to bowl them out for 215 but I thought they (England) bowled really with the new ball," Lehmann said. "Conditions were favourable for swing bowling and England have some very good bowlers who were able to take advantage of that."