sport

Lehmann happy with tour plans

Australia head coach Darren Lehmann has played down concerns over the quality of the opposition they will face in warm-up games ahead of the 2015 Ashes.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced the schedule for next summer, which will see the holders of the urn play tour matches against Kent and Essex before the first Test, and then Derbyshire and Northamptonshire during the series.

The first three of those sides are second division county teams, while Northants currently sit bottom of Division One.

However, Lehmann is satisfied that his touring side will get the warm-up they require as they look to follow up this year's 5-0 home whitewashing of England and win a first away Ashes series since 2001.

"(Kent and Essex) are quality sides and like last time (2013 Ashes in Britain) they'll probably drag a few players from other counties in to play," he said.

"We really enjoy playing against the counties. It's a great lead-in for us. A bit more relaxed as you'd imagine but we've got to achieve some goals in those tour games as we did last time."

Ready to go

Australia have a two-Test series against the West Indies before heading to England and Lehmann believes this will be ideal preparation.

"We've got a tour game in West Indies, the two Test matches there, a 10-day lead in England and then another two tour games," he said.

"So there's plenty of time for us to get acclimatised. Plenty of time to get used to the Dukes balls and pitches in England and also bowlers to be up and ready to go."

Australia were beaten 3-0 in England during the summer of 2013 and Lehmann believes he and his squad will be better prepared next year.

"They know their conditions well and we certainly learnt from our last experiences there and we have to change a few things," he added.

"We played well on the back-end of the Ashes series last time in England and we've got to continue that on in the first Test and start the series well."

Next year's Ashes get under way on 8 July in Cardiff and will go on to feature Tests at Lord's, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge and the Oval.