Cricket: Australia coach Lehmann ready to wield axe after Ashes flop at Lords

Australia coach Darren Lehmann (above) has warned his under-achieving stars that no-one is safe from the axe ahead of the must-win third Ashes Test. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Australia coach Darren Lehmann (above) has warned his under-achieving stars that no-one is safe from the axe ahead of the must-win third Ashes Test. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Australia coach Darren Lehmann has warned his under-achieving stars that no-one is safe from the axe ahead of the must-win third Ashes Test.

Lehmann's side trail 2-0 after Sunday's defeat in the second Test at Lord's, meaning Ashes-holders England can clinch the five-match series when the sides next meet at Old Trafford on August 1.

The lacklustre Australians have been out-played for much of the series and Lehmann admits they deserve all the criticism currently coming their way.

Australia captain Michael Clarke also made no attempt to hide the fact that his team are struggling when assessing the 347-run loss at Lord's, which came hot on the heels of defeat in the first Test at Trent Bridge.

With the Ashes in danger of slipping away, Lehmann will use the three-day tour match against Sussex at Hove, starting on Friday, to look at potential changes to the team for the third Test.

"I say all the time the whole 18 have a chance to play," Lehmann said. "I'm not ruling anything out. That is what happens when you have two losses, every option is open.

"As selectors Rod (Marsh), John (Inverarity) and I will have to speak about it and see where we come to."

Australia's tour has been marred by a series of off-field issues, including the sacking of former coach Mickey Arthur just 16 bays before the Ashes and reports of a rift between Clarke and opener Shane Watson.

But Lehmann has told his players to stop looking for excuses.

"We actually need to get some results because that would stop all the talk and make people realise we are going the right way," he said.

"We can't worry about what anyone else says or writes. We accept the criticism, we deserve the criticism to be fair."