'Not that important': Tim Paine's bizarre explanation for bowling first

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter

Tim Paine couldn’t really explain why Australia chose to bowl first at The Oval after winning the toss.

Australia may have retained the Ashes, but there were plenty of questions to why Paine chose to bowl first on a sunny Day One at The Oval.

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The decision ultimately backfired when England compiled a big first innings lead and Australia was left to chase 399 runs batting in the fourth innings.

But when reporters pushed Paine on whether he made the right decision, he gave an unusual answer claiming the call is “always 50/50”.

Tim Paine of Australia walks out for the coin toss during day one of the 5th Ashes Test at The Oval on September 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

“I can't read a pitch that well," he told reporters.

"We're trying to get to the stage where the toss isn't that important to us. You've got to win games of cricket when you lose a toss, and whether you bat or bowl first is a bit irrelevant."

However, the stats prove winning the toss can go a long way to helping retaining the Ashes.

Since 1997, Australia has lost the toss 16 times in England and lost 10 of those games.

In the 20 games they have won the toss, they have won 10, drawn five and lost five.

Openers set unwanted record

Steve Smith enjoyed the the greatest single series by a batsman this century, Matthew Wade and Marnus Labuschagne cemented their places in the XI, and the bowlers were typically superb.

But the glaring weakness lies with our openers.

When Marcus Harris was dismissed for 9 on the morning of day four at The Oval, it marked the 14th time in the series that one of Australia’s openers made a single-figure score.

To put that into context, the previous world record was 13 times set by England in South Africa in 1905-06.

Warner also achieved the ignominious feat of being dismissed for the most single-figure scores by an opening batsman in one series ever.

His 95 runs at an average of 9.50 were also the lowest in a series of at least 10 innings.