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Langer resigns: The ups and downs of a tumultuous Australia reign

By Peter Hanson

Melbourne, Feb 5: After almost four tumultuous years, Justin Langer's tenure as Australia head coach has come to an end.

Langer's resignation was confirmed on Saturday just a day on from a lengthy board meeting with Cricket Australia.

Justin Langer rejected short-term contract extension: Cricket AustraliaJustin Langer rejected short-term contract extension: Cricket Australia

The news comes despite Langer having led Australia to T20 World Cup glory and an emphatic home Ashes series triumph in recent months, with the now former coach's intensity away from the pitch a seeming point of contention among the playing squad.

With Langer's time at an end, here is a look at some of his highs and lows in charge of Australia.

Lows:

White-ball whitewash to England

Just a month on from replacing Darren Lehmann in the aftermath of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, Langer endured a desperately disappointing white-ball tour of England. Australia were whitewashed 5-0 in the ODI series and lost by 28 runs in the solitary T20I as life without suspended duo Steve Smith and David Warner began in inauspicious fashion.

No home comforts against India

In January 2019, Langer and his team made unwanted history as Australia were subjected to a home Test series defeat to a side from Asia for the first time as India secured a 2-1 victory. Wins in the first and third Tests for the tourists had sandwiched a 146-run drubbing in the second, but when the fourth contest ended in a draw Virat Kohli and his team could celebrate a famous triumph.

More India woe

Two years on, Australia were in a stronger position against the same opposition with Smith and Warner having long-since returned from their international suspensions. Things started well when India were knocked over for a measly 36 in the second innings of the first Test en route to victory in Adelaide. But India levelled things up in the second match and, after a drawn third Test, were triumphant in the Brisbane decider as murmurs of discontent over Langer's leadership began.

Highs

Plenty of heart in England

Australia were pretty much ever presents in enemy territory during the English summer of 2019 and Langer's team showed signs of encouragement. A year on from the white-ball drubbings inflicted by England, Australia – buoyed by the return of Warner of and Smith – enjoyed a valiant run to the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup where they were beaten by the hosts. Soon after it was time for five-day cricket, and Australia retained the Ashes after a 2-2 drawn series. It was the first time they had avoided defeat in England since 2001.

Back on top of the world

By May 2020, Australia were well and truly back in their groove. Series wins on home soil against Pakistan and New Zealand saw them return to the number-one ranked team in Test cricket, while they also ascended to the top of the T20 rankings for the first time in their history.

World Cup glory

Australia were crowned T20 World Cup champions for the first time in the United Arab Emirates in November 2021, enjoying a dominant win over New Zealand – the same team they had defeated in the 2015 ODI World Cup showpiece – in the final. However, Langer himself admitted he had taken more of a backseat role for the tournament and the victory was said to have stemmed from a player-driven environment.

Ashes dominance

It has been less than a month since the end of a home Ashes series, which Australia completely dominated against a woeful England. The Aussies retained the urn in record-breaking time and only some valiant English defence in the fourth Test in Sydney denied the hosts a 5-0 whitewash. The build-up had not gone exactly to plan with captain Tim Paine having stood down amid an illicit-texting scandal, while new skipper Pat Cummins did not endorse Langer for a new contract during the series.

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Story first published: Saturday, February 5, 2022, 14:50 [IST]
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