The chaotic end to the third Test at Headingley won’t go down in history as Tim Paine’s finest hour - but the Ashes-sealing fourth Test victory just might.
Australia had dominated at Old Trafford until the fifth day, when a stubborn English tail threatened to bat out a draw.
So potent over the first four days, the bowling attack of Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood simply couldn’t produce a delivery that would befuddle the likes of Jack Leach and Craig Overton.
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With the scars from the third Test still raw, Paine made a bold move instead of retreating from the moment.
The Tasmanian keeper-captain’s call to throw the ball to part-time leg spinner Marnus Labuschagne turned out to be a masterstroke.
Labuschagne managed to get Leach prodding at a ball, which ballooned up and into the hands of Matthew Wade at short leg.
Leach’s wicket was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back, with Overton falling to Hazelwood two overs later to ensure the Urn would return to Australia.
Paine praised for resilience
Heavily criticised after letting the third Test slip, many of Paine’s critics have applauded the Australian for bouncing back in convincing fashion at the earliest opportunity.
On the Channel 9 broadcast, Taylor went out of his way to praise his successor.
"I can't say enough today about Tim Paine, he was terrific," Taylor said.
"He was not bad at Headingley either, but they got the result they deserved."
Taylor later added that Paine had sought him out immediately after the fourth Test heartbreaker.
“Think back to Headingley. He came straight over to me after that horrendous loss, and he faced it head on," Taylor said.
"He fronted up after that really tough hour, and he's fronted up again today."
"He deserves all the accolades that he's going to get."
Captain plays down crucial call
Despite widespread praise for his impressive turnaround, Paine played down his decision to bring Labuschagne on.
The wicketkeeper said leach’s wicket had been a stroke of luck, but talked up the part-time spinner’s work.
"It was a bit of guess work there, let's be honest!" Paine said.
"No, Marnus has been working really hard on his leg-spin. He wants to be out in the middle, and he wants to be in those big moments."
"If he continues to do that, and continues to improve, he will be a very important cricketer for us for a long time."
Tim Paine is a genius, All hail the king 👑 😅— Oliver Hunter (@oliverhunter97) September 8, 2019
A word of appreciation for Tim Paine. Hasn't had a great series with the bat but the move to bring Labuschagne into the attack was a masterstroke in the truest sense of the term. Take a bow, mate. #Ashes #ENGvAUS— Ayan (@ayan_acharya13) September 8, 2019
Credit Tim Paine - bounces back from Headingley howler with the Marnus masterstroke. Great captaincy #ashes— Drew Jones (@DrewJonesFOX) September 8, 2019
Tim Paine pulling out a masterstroke.— Navdeep Singh (@DrogonDracarys_) September 8, 2019
Tim Paine what a genius. Brought on Labushchagne for that 9th wicket! Aussies win it! #Ashes2019— IniestasFootwork (@DiveshhJainn) September 8, 2019
What a staggering gamble by Tim Paine!!!— Siddharth (@sidd_june) September 8, 2019
It seemed ridiculous at first to make Marnus Lab bowl now!
But it has paid off. Genius move!