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Ashes: Paine reckons Aus big guns need to fire soon

It would be advantage Australia during the Ashes as they can play at “different tempos”, while England only know how to play “really hard”, feels former Test skipper of the touring side Time Paine.

Paine, a wicketkeeper-batter, had stepped down as Australia captain days before the last Ashes series at home due to a ‘sexting’ scandal and was replaced by pacer Pat Cummins as Test skipper.

Australia defeated Ben Stokes’s England by two wickets in a thrilling Ashes opener at Edgbaston with Cummins scoring an unbeaten 44 and guiding the visitors to victory when things had started to look difficult.

Ahead of the second Test at Lord’s from June 28, Paine, who made an unsuccessful bid to return to the Australia side, said, “They (Australia) can play at different tempos, they can play different scenarios and I think their game will stand up in different conditions.

“England, we know are going to go one way, they’re going to go really hard,” Paine told Sen Radio on Wednesday.

“I think from what I’ve seen earlier and what I thought going into the series, I think that’s where Australia have got the advantage.”

Paine said he had exchanged text messages post the opening Ashes Test victory with Cummins and the skipper sounded thrilled.

“I actually spoke to Pat Cummins on text yesterday (Tuesday). He said, ‘We’ve got one back for us’, yeah look, it was nice sitting on my couch.”

The former captain added that when Alex Carey became the eighth Australian wicket to fall on 227 in the chase of a victory of 282, he almost gave up on his team. But Cummins’s (44 not out) and Nathan Lyon’s (16 not out) snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

“At 4 am (Australia time) I must admit, when Alex Carey got out and Nathan Lyon strolled to the crease, I contemplated going to bed because I didn’t want to have to watch the English win.

“But gee, what a partnership, it was two experienced, hardened cricketers, two absolute winners. It was an amazing partnership and a great Test match to watch made even better by the fact that we’re on the right side of it for once.”

He felt Australia will get better as the series progresses.

“I think Australia as the series will go on will get better and better. I think there was some clear strategy from both sides, whether it’s attack or defence when a Test match goes for five days, you’ve got to be able to do both. With a series that goes for five Test matches, you’re going to have to do both.”

Paine though said some of the Australian big guns will have to pull up their socks soon.

“If I was being really harsh, I didn’t think Australia played anywhere near their best either. Look at down the side, Pat Cummins came good in the second innings with the ball, but he wasn’t at his best in the first innings. David Warner was ok, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne both missed out, Scott Boland who’s been amazing, had probably his first bad Test match.

“Nathan Lyon was fantastic, and Alex Carey was brilliant, but I think some of our big guns were below their best.”

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