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Focus shifts to Lord's

Focus shifts to Lord
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London (AFP): After just a three-day break since England's thrilling 14-run win over Australia in the first Test at Trent Bridge, the Ashes rivals...

London (AFP): After just a three-day break since England's thrilling 14-run win over Australia in the first Test at Trent Bridge, the Ashes rivals will meet for the second of a five-match series at Lord's on Thursday. But the manner in which Australia competed in Nottingham suggests Ashes-holders England will not have things all their own way. Just when Australia thought they'd put the departure of sacked former coach Mickey Arthur behind them however, the row over the South African's controversial exit has been reignited in spectacular fashion. Arthur, fired just 16 days before the Ashes, is taking legal action against Cricket Australia. He is seeking up to Aus$4 million (US$3.69 million) in compensation, claiming he was discriminated against because he was South African and "didn't understand the Australian way". According to Australian broadcaster Channel Seven, the legal documents also reveal a major rift in the team between captain Michael Clarke and former vice-captain Shane Watson. Clarke allegedly described the role of Watson, one of four players dropped by Arthur for the third Test in Mohali in March, as a "cancer". South African called himself the "meat in the sandwich" between the conflicting camps.Arthur, sacked two years before his contract was due to expire, claimed Clarke embraced the need for discipline, while Watson did not, Channel Seven said. Watson has since been replaced as vice-captain by Brad Haddin but the all-rounder remains in the side as an opening batsman. Wicketkeeper Haddin, whose second innings 71 so nearly led Australia to victory in Nottingham, insisted on Tuesday that all was well with the side. "The Australian dressing room is fine. I don't know how many times we need to answer this," Haddin said. "All the other stuff that we can talk about is white noise so it's not something that has affected the side at all." Key among the things that cost Australia victory at Nottingham was their top-order batting.Whether new coach Darren Lehmann can do much to improve it is doubtful, although struggling No 3 Ed Cowan could yet find himself dropped and replaced by Usman Khawaja. Ashes
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