Australian Captain Tim Paine came out reflecting on few decisions made in the second Test match against England in the ongoing Ashes series. Paine spoke about how he had made errors towards the end of the second test match and face 'harsh truths' on his leadership in the final overs when his team was just one wicket away from securing the test series.
Paine said that he would have adjusted the field to put extra pressure on the batsmen and deny the home team chances to score the final vital runs. He said, "I would do something different with my field placings. There were times looking back at it where it was really obvious I should've had the field up and allowed Ben even to hit a couple of boundaries so we had more balls at the tailender. But I didn't do that. The mistake's been made, we've moved on, we've learned from it, but that would've been the main thing I would've done differently." Paine believes that keeping a few players up the field would have helped to put pressure on Ben Stokes, and would not have allowed him to take the strike away from Jack Leach, the last man. Australia lost the test match by one wicket although they were in a very strong position going into the final overs of the match.
Paine also spoke about the decision to drop Usman Khawaja as Steve Smith came in for the Old Trafford test match. Paine said that the decision was made after his discussions with coach Justin Langer and selection committee chairman, Trevor Hohns. Paine also said that with a player like Smith coming back into the team, someone had to make way. Khawaja's record in tests has been poor and has not made enough runs that made him a strong contender to fight for his place. Paine went on to say, "Usman's obviously a key player in our side batting at No. 3 and he hasn't scored the runs that he or we would like. So with Steve Smith coming back it was a tough decision to make on Usman, but we think he's still got a lot of cricket left in him, he's had a very good Test record over his career, and we expect he will bounce back pretty strongly."