Despite Australia’s incredible result to draw the first Test against Pakistan, Tim Paine didn’t like seeing his teammates celebrating.
After blocking out the final ball in Dubai, Paine was walking off the field when he spotted the Aussies hugging and cheering on the team balcony.
Most of the joy was centred around Usman Khawaja, whose remarkable century paved the way for the Aussies to stave off what looked like being a big defeat.
But Paine immediately signalled to his teammates and gestured for them to temper their celebrations.
Some thought Paine’s actions were out of respect for Pakistan, or that he didn’t think they should be celebrating when they hadn’t won.
But the skipper has since revealed the painful Ashes memory behind his actions.
Paine said he recalled Michael Vaughan saying he knew England would win the 2005 Ashes series when he saw Australia celebrating a draw in the third Test.
The Aussies had batted out the final day at Old Trafford to keep the series level at 1-1, but Vaughan saw cracks appearing when the tourists were happy with simply avoiding defeat.
“Michael Vaughan said after one of the Tests that he felt as an opposition captain that they had them when he saw them celebrating a draw,” Paine said on Monday.
“I’ve seen that myself before. I think we were clearly pretty excited by what we’ve been able to achieve because it doesn’t happen too much, but you’ve got to keep a bit of perspective on it and realise that we had been outplayed, particularly over the first few days, and while it was great we did fight back, a draw is a draw, and we’re here to win.”
England went on to win the famous series 2-1.
“I remember Brett Lee and (Glenn) McGrath hugging each other in the middle as if they won the World Cup,” Vaughan wrote for the UK Telegraph in 2013.
“I looked behind me and saw them jumping up and down on the balcony.
“I told the lads to look at them celebrating. I never thought I would see an Australia team celebrate a draw.
“I said: ‘If we play like this, and I know we will be better at Trent Bridge, then the Ashes will be ours, no question. We have got them mentally’.”
KEY QUESTIONS AHEAD OF 2ND TEST:
Did the fightback in Dubai simply paper over the cracks?
Take nothing away from Australia’s remarkable comeback in the first Test. Usman Khawaja, Tim Paine and Travis Head all showed true grit in the toughest of circumstances to grind out an improbable draw.
But concerns remain after the tourists lost 10 wickets for just 60 runs in the first innings and suffered another mini-collapse in the second dig. Getting out of jail once is hard enough. The Aussies simply have to bat long this time to give themselves a chance of victory.
Where do the Marsh brothers fit into the equation?
The logic behind having the Marsh brothers, who combined for just 19 runs in Dubai, at No.3 and No.4 is sound. Shaun Marsh is the only obvious candidate to bat as high as No.3 with Khawaja opening the batting. It also allows for a mix of left and right-handers to disrupt Pakistan’s bowlers.
But it’s hard to see Mitch Marsh remaining at No.4, a position he seems unsuited for with a first-class average of just 32. Head looms as the man to promote after making 72 on debut in Dubai.
Can Mitchell Starc find the right ingredients?
Punishing heat and a docile pitch combined to dampen Starc’s lethal strike bowling in Dubai, where he managed just one wicket. The left-armer was able to conjure some reverse swing but not nearly to the same extent as Pakistan seamer Mohammad Abbas, who claimed seven scalps. Either way, it’s unlikely there’ll be as much on offer in the series decider.
Have the Aussies found the key to restricting Yasir Shah?
Pakistan’s ace legspinner made a frustrating return to Test cricket with Khawaja and Head both employing the sweep shot against him to great effect. One of the best spinners in the world on his day, Yasir went wicketless in the first innings.
The dimunitive tweaker lifted late to finish with four wickets but couldn’t do enough to end Paine’s valiant stand. The Aussies will nonetheless remain wary of Yasir and offspinner Bilal Asif.