'Greatest decision ever': Joe Root torches Tim Paine's 'goober' Ashes mistake

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Joe Root and Tim Paine are pictured prior to the 2019 Ashes series.
As English broadcasters replay the classic Headingley Test from the 2019 Ashes series, England captain Joe Root couldn't help but take a cheeky swipe at Australian counterpart Tim Paine. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

It was during another one-sided Australian Ashes victory on English soil that Steve Waugh expressed his biggest frustrations about Test rain delays: "those bloody Headingley '81 re-runs on TV".

Between 1989 and 2003 England won just eight Tests in as many series and were frequently humiliated on home soil by Waugh, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and co.

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But whenever the heavens opened during a day's play, the vacant TV air time seemed to be perennially filled with replays of Ian Botham and Bob Willis inspiring England to a remarkable 18-run win after following-on.

Well the good news for Australian fans and players who'll tour England again in 2022 is those Leeds heroics have been put to the back of the cupboard.

The bad news is they've been replaced by the new miracle of Headingley from last August when Ben Stokes broke Australian hearts with one of the greatest Test innings of all time.

With the UK in coronavirus lockdown, TV and radio stations have been digging into the archives for content in a bid to give sports-starved fans some kind of daily fix.

This week BBC radio repeated in 'live' fashion all four days of that third Ashes Test at Leeds.

On Saturday, Sky Sports jumped on board by streaming the last two hours of the match on TV and online for non-subscribers with ball by ball insights via their lounge rooms from Joe Root and Stokes.

Australia had memorably skittled England out for 67 on day two - only for Stokes to deny them victory with an unbeaten 135 - as the hosts chased down a record 359 two days later to seal a nerve-shredding one-wicket win.

Root couldn’t help but take a sly shot at his colleague Paine, after the Aussie wicketkeeper captain burned a review early on in the innings.

“It’s the greatest decision of all time if you ask me,” Root said.

“You want the world to swallow you up because you know you’ve made an absolute goober of a mistake. It’s a horrible feeling.”

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With people forced to stay at home on an Easter weekend where the mercury nudged 25C, Twitter was alight with people reminiscing about an incredible day of cricket.

"We've had the most fantastic feedback with many telling us the commentary has provided a welcome distraction at a difficult time," BBC's Test Match Special producer Adam Mountford told AAP.

"We've had messages for example from nurses and doctors listening to help unwind from stressful shifts.

"We don't have confirmed audience figures, but we know over 100,000 people listened just online to day three and we'd expect many more for day four."

It made for fascinating viewing for any neutral and of course England fans, but the inevitable re-runs will be painful for any Australian who will have to get used to trying to avoid it whenever they come to play in the UK.

Needless to say, Sky and the BBC say there are no plans to show the fourth Test which saw Australia retain the Ashes two weeks later.