Tim Paine ended a 13-year wait for a second first-class century in Tasmania's Sheffield Shield opener against Western Australia on Saturday.

The Australia Test captain had failed to reach three figures in a first-class match since making 215 in a Pura Cup clash with Western Australia at the WACA Ground back in 2006.

Paine ended his drought against the same opponents on day three, top scoring with 121 in Tasmania's 397 all out.

The wicketkeeper-batsman downplayed his contribution with the bat, stating "it means nothing to me."

Western Australia were 148-2 in their second innings at stumps with a lead of 88, brother Shaun and Mitchell Marsh unbeaten on 74 and 51 respectively.

The 2019 Ashes certainly lived up to the pre-series hype.

England and Australia had no shortage of talent on display but also glaring holes in both sides were exposed over the course of five intriguing battles that provided plenty of twists and turns.

There were brilliant exhibitions of fast bowling. There were centuries (thanks largely to Steve Smith!). There was a fairy-tale finish for the ages, too, but in the end no outright winner.

Australia retained the Ashes but England's victory at The Oval in the fifth and final chapter means a 2-2 result, the first series draw between the rivals since 1972.

Here, Omnisport picks out the key moments as we recap each Test.

 

AUSTRALIA EIGHT DOWN, ANDERSON OUT

Tim Paine’s decision to bat first in the series opener appeared foolish when his side slipped to 122-8 on the opening day Edgbaston. Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes did the damage, but James Anderson was only able to bowl four overs before leaving the field.

His absence was keenly felt as, with Smith beginning his one-man crusade against the England attack, Australia’s last two wickets added 166 runs. Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon showed the supposed batsmen how it should be done in bowler-friendly conditions, supporting their former captain, who finished up with 144 as a potentially disastrous first innings was transformed into a competitive total.

Anderson, meanwhile, only appeared again in the game to bat due to a calf problem. He attempted a comeback in time to play at his home ground of Old Trafford later in the series, but a setback on second XI duty for Lancashire scuppered that plan, meaning England's all-time leading wicket-taker in the longest format sent down just 24 deliveries against Australia.

 

ARCHER MAKES AN INSTANT IMPACT 

With Anderson out, England handed a debut to Jofra Archer for the second Test at Lord's. The pace bowler had been a key component of the one-day squad that won the Cricket World Cup on home soil earlier in the year but warned the public not to expect "miracles" in his Test bow.

There was no miracle – Archer was not quite able to bowl England to victory in the final session of a game that had seen the entire first day wiped out by rain – but his performance caused quite a stir.

He claimed five wickets in the match, struck down Smith with a seriously quick bouncer when the batsman was seemingly on course for a third successive triple-figure knock and, subsequently, played his part in Test history as the first concussion substitute was used. Marnus Labuschagne was laid low by a delivery from Archer too, yet beat the count to carry on batting and make a crucial half-century to secure a draw.

 

HEADINGLEY MIRACLE - VOL II

At a venue where Ian Botham famously salvaged a seemingly lost cause to secure an unlikely Ashes victory in the 1981 series, Ben Stokes produced a performance at Headingley that will see him forever remembered in crick folklore.

Bowled out for just 67 in their first innings, England's valiant bid to reach a tough victory target of 359 appeared set to fall short when they slipped from 245-4 to 286-9 on the fourth afternoon. Yet Stokes refused to give in, choosing to go on the attack with a display of hitting that, with each boundary, raised the possibility of a stunning result.

The left-hander made 135 not out with eight sixes to drag his team over the line, aided by last-man Jack Leach surviving 17 balls and contributing a quick single that turned him into a cult hero. Australia failed to remain composed amid the carnage, wasting their final review and butchering a run-out chance when Lyon somehow fumbled a tame throw to the bowler's end.

 

SMITH AT THE DOUBLE

Having missed the defeat in Leeds due to concussion, Smith returned as the series shifted across the Pennines to Manchester – and made up for lost time with another telling contribution with the bat.  England's plans to rough him up with the short ball failed to pay off as the right-hander made his third Ashes double hundred, in the process taking his tally past 500 runs for a third successive series.

Given a life when dismissed off a no ball from spinner Leach, the former skipper finished up with 211 out of Australia's 497-8 declared. England avoided having to follow-on in reply but 82 from Smith second time around left Root's side needing another Herculean fourth-innings performance to keep the series alive.

While Stokes failed to fire again, it appeared the great escape could be on when Leach combined with Somerset colleague Craig Overton to push the game into the final hour. Fearing another opportunity was set to go begging, Paine turned to Labuschagne's leg spin. The move paid off as he dismissed Leach, opening the door just wide enough for the excellent Josh Hazlewood to wrap up victory in fading light as the tourists moved 2-1 ahead.

 

A PAINE-FUL DECISION & JOE 90

Perhaps it was the fact the urn was already retained, almost akin to a last-day-of-school situation, that led to captain Paine opting to bowl first after winning the toss. England failed to fully capitalise on the opportunity, posting 294, but Smith only (only!) made 82 as Archer's second six-wicket haul in the series secured a useful first-innings lead.

Following a dash home after day one to see the birth of his daughter, England opener Joe Denly celebrated the new arrival with a Test-best score of 94, helping to set Australia plenty in the final innings on a worn surface.

Broad dismissed David Warner for a seventh time in 10 innings – the opener finished the series with 95 runs (only Hazlewood posted a lower average for the visitors than the left-hander's 9.50) – and when Smith fell into England’s leg-side trap, it was just a matter of when, not if, the hosts would triumph. Matthew Wade went down swinging with a hundred, but the topsy-turvy series ended level.

Captain Tim Paine acknowledged there were "mixed emotions" after Australia retained the Ashes but failed to win the series in England.

Paine's men became the first Australia team to retain the Ashes in England since 2001 after taking a 2-1 lead following the fourth Test at Old Trafford last week.

But the tourists were beaten by 135 runs in the fifth and final match at the Oval on Sunday, leaving the series level at 2-2.

While Australia will take the urn home again, Paine conceded the nature of the last Test was an undeniable frustration.

"There's no doubt today puts a bit of a dampener on it. There are some mixed emotions," he said. "There were some great learnings out of the whole Ashes series for us.

"But from where this group's come from, to come to England and retain the Ashes is still a huge deal.

"We've got a lot to be proud of - there's been some fantastic cricket throughout - but we've got some improvement, some learning to do, which is a great thing for us."

Paine only became skipper after Steve Smith was banned for 12 months due to his role in the ball-tampering scandal last year.

The 34-year-old was not interested in a discussion of his leadership in the immediate aftermath of this week's defeat.

"I wouldn't say [being captain in the Ashes] was an endgame. I didn't see it as a beginning, I didn't see it as an option not that long ago," he said.

"I'm loving the job I have at the moment. I feel there's a little bit of unfinished business with this team and where we're heading, and I've got a little bit of cricket left in this body. But I'm not looking too far down the track."

Paine's captaincy has been criticised at times, with his reviewing often considered particularly poor and his option to bowl first after winning the toss at the Oval costly.

He said: "I've got a couple [of regrets] - probably starting with the toss. But after that, you've got to give credit to England. They outplayed us.

"But we didn't take our chances on day one. I feel a bit sorry for our bowlers - they were fantastic all series and created plenty of chances on day one. We just didn't back them up.

"They got ahead in the game and took it away from us."

Paine admitted: "I can't read a pitch that well. We're trying to get to a point where the toss isn't that important to us. We've got to win games of cricket when you lose the toss.

"Whether you bat or bowl first is irrelevant - we've got to do it better than we did in this Test match."

Joe Root was let off the hook by Peter Siddle and Tim Paine as England made a positive start to the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

Siddle, brought back into Australia's side at the expense of Mitchell Starc, should have dismissed England's captain on 24 but put down a simple catch at deep square leg.

The Yorkshireman's wicket would have been a vital one for Australia, with the visitors having struggled to test Root, who moved to 28 not out, or Rory Burns (42 no) following Joe Denly's dismissal.

Australia captain Paine also dropped his English counterpart, failing to hold onto a diving, one-handed attempt as England made it to lunch on 86-1.

Put into bat by Paine, England's Burns and Denly accumulated 27-0 by the end of the eighth over - the highest opening partnership of the series so far.

Things would have been different if in-form Burns had not successfully reviewed Marais Erasmus' leg before wicket decision in the fourth over, though Denly (14) was dismissed five overs later when he edged Pat Cummins to Steve Smith, who held on at the second attempt.

Root swiftly got about his business, clipping Siddle for two boundaries, while Burns fended off Mitchell Marsh.

Cummins bowled Root for a golden duck at Old Trafford, and the world's number one Test bowler should have had his wicket again.

A short ball drew Root into a poor hook shot, but Siddle failed to hold on in the outfield, and Cummins was frustrated once more in his next over.

Root flashed recklessly outside off stump, only for Paine - moving across David Warner at first slip - to attempt an acrobatic catch which went down as England held firm to survive the session.

Mitchell Starc dropped out of Australia's team for the final Ashes Test, with Tim Paine's visitors making two changes.

Australia arrived at The Oval with the Ashes already secure following their 185-run victory at Old Trafford, which gave them a 2-1 series lead.

Having impressed in tour matches, Starc came into the line-up in Manchester, replacing James Pattinson.

However, the 29-year-old paceman - who scored an unbeaten 54 in the fourth Test and took four wickets - did not made the cut for the match that began in London on Thursday, with Australia selecting Peter Siddle instead.

The other change to Australia's side saw Mitchell Marsh replace Travis Head, a switch Paine had revealed in his pre-match news conference on Wednesday.

Paine won the toss on Thursday, electing to bowl first.

Australia team for final Ashes Test: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (captain, wk), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Mitchell Marsh has been preferred to vice-captain Travis Head in the only change to Australia's squad for the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

All-rounder Marsh will make his first appearance of the series against England as the tourists strive to win the series after going 2-1 up to retain the urn at Old Trafford last weekend.

Batsman Head has made just one half-century in the series and captain Tim Paine says Marsh was selected to ease the bowlers' workload.

"Looking at the conditions and the series being a long and tough one, we've kept the bowling group that was together for the last Test match.

"They've bowled a lot of overs and we feel that bringing Mitchell in will ease a little bit of the workload on them.

"It was a really tough call on Travis Head, who's had a great start to his Test career but we wanted a bit more bowling depth in the squad to cover what looks like a really good wicket and to be able to look after our big, fast bowlers.

"Mitchell Marsh has also had a couple of hundreds in Test cricket so we've got full faith in him doing the job with the bat as well."

Paine added: "The reason Travis isn't playing is because we felt like we needed a little bit of extra bowling at the end of a long series.

"Mitch Marsh is our all-rounder and like we have with our bowlers, it's not necessarily Travis being dropped.

"We've been really clear with Travis on why he's not playing this game. He's had a fantastic start [to his Test career], he's played nine or 10 Tests and has got a very healthy average but we want to get the make up right to win this Test match.

"Unfortunately we had to make a really tough call on someone and it happened to be Travis. He's a huge part of Australian cricket future, he's a gun young player and he's getting better all the time.

"It's disappointing for him he's not playing in this Test match. He'd dearly love to, obviously, but we'll go back to Australia, conditions will be different. There's no doubt he's in the top six or seven batsmen in our country."

England replaced Jason Roy and Craig Overton with Sam Curran and Chris Woakes for the fifth Test, which starts on Thursday.


Australia squad for fifth Ashes Test: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Tim Paine is not planning to bow out as Australia captain in the wake of his side retaining the Ashes.

Australia retained the urn thanks to their 185-run victory in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, handing the visitors an unassailable 2-1 lead.

There is still plenty to play for at The Oval, however, with England needing a victory to avoid a first Ashes series defeat on home soil in 18 years.

Paine's captaincy has come under scrutiny at times throughout the tour, particularly with former skipper Steve Smith - who was replaced by the wicketkeeper following the 2018 ball-tampering scandal - having been in such inspired form.

But having guided Australia through a difficult 18 months, Paine is in no mood to relinquish his leadership duties, even though an Ashes win would ensure his legacy would be firmly intact.

"Not for me, not at the moment," Paine, whose international career was halted by a mixture of injuries and rivals keeping him out of the team, told reporters at The Oval when asked if he might call time on his tenure at the end of the series.

"I'm loving doing what I'm doing, and I think while you've got a job that you love you try and do it for as long as you can.

"I did miss a lot, I suppose, in the prime years of my cricket career. The positive of that now is that physically I'm in really good condition for my age and feel really good after Test matches physically.

"Mentally, it's a different story but it only takes a day to recover from that. While I keep enjoying it, I'll keep doing it."

The 34-year-old was asked if the end of the ICC Test Championship cycle in the middle of 2021 would be an ideal signing-off point, but Paine insisted he is not planning so far ahead.

"I haven't thought about it to be honest," Paine said.

"I haven't thought much past this Test match, as I've said in the last 18 months, I think it's foolish at my age if you do.

"I'm enjoying what I'm doing and whilst I can continue to contribute in some way, I'll continue to do it.

"I constantly talk to Justin Langer and [selection chair] Trevor Hohns about what might happen or how long I might go on for, but I think we're all comfortable and we're all on the same page."

Captain Tim Paine will take "great confidence" from Australia retaining the Ashes on English soil, according to Justin Langer.

After they were denied by Ben Stokes' heroics at Headingley in the previous match, Australia made sure they will keep hold of the famous urn with a 185-run victory over England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, the result giving them a 2-1 lead with just one match to play.

Paine's relief when the final wicket was confirmed following a review was clear, having come in for some criticism after his team's failure to get over the line in the third Test when the hosts recorded a dramatic one-wicket triumph.

Australia coach Langer has praised the way the skipper has led the team during the tour, particularly as they had not won a series overseas since a 2-0 triumph over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in 2016.

"He's very disciplined - I like that. He is very tough as well," Langer said of the wicketkeeper-batsman. "This has meant a lot to him, from where he's come from.

"The other important thing about Tim as captain is that we have not won overseas for some time. You've got to learn how to win, and that's why this result is so important to us.

"I think the big lesson from the last Test is we all wanted it so much, sometimes we want something so much you just hold on a little bit tight. Hopefully we've learned some lessons over the last week.

"Had this [Old Trafford Test] been another draw, had we not quite got over the line, then that's tough on the team. And for his captaincy, he will take great confidence from this - and so will the team."

The tourists have relied heavily on Steve Smith to hold together a faltering batting line-up during the series, though Langer feels there are mitigating circumstances for some of the rest of the team, considering their lack of experience in the Test arena.

"Steve Smith has done a lot for Australian cricket in the last few years, really. So has David Warner," he said.

"We must remember that Travis Head is new to Test cricket. Marnus Labuschagne is new to Test cricket. Marcus Harris is new to Test cricket. Cameron Bancroft is new to Test cricket. You can't just give them that experience, they've got to earn that.

"We are very thankful to have Steve Smith batting like he is. We are lucky to have him, but Test cricket takes time. We have got to respect that.

"David hasn't had a great series, but imagine how good the team will be when he starts having a great series. Hopefully, he will do that in the next Test.

"The other guys are learning as they go and this is all part of the experience. I said at the start of the series that the team that bats best will win the series, because both teams have got good bowling attacks. Ours is world class and we're really lucky – we're going to have to work on that batting."

Smith has scored 671 runs in five innings against England, cementing his place at the top of the International Cricket Council Test batting rankings.

Tim Paine never doubted Australia's ability to overcome their Headingley heartbreak after his side beat England at Old Trafford to retain the Ashes on Sunday.

After Ben Stokes' heroics completed a miraculous comeback for England in the third Test in Leeds, Paine's Australia claimed a 185-run victory in Manchester to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series, which concludes at The Oval.

Steve Smith's sensational displays with the bat in both innings had put Australia in command heading into day five of the fourth Test, with England having been reduced to 18-2 after Pat Cummins dismissed Rory Burns and Joe Root in a disastrous evening session for the hosts on Saturday.

Despite respectable efforts from Jason Roy, Joe Denly and Jos Buttler, England's batting order was whittled away through the day - Craig Overton and Jack Leach offering some late resistance before Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Hazlewood struck.

Paine's captaincy was called into question following Australia's failure to retain the Ashes at Headingley, but the wicketkeeper insisted he always trusted his side to hold their nerve this time around.

"A few nervous moments no doubt, coming off Headingley, we didn't want to be in that position again," Paine told a news conference.

"I thought we learned from that, held our nerve, bowled really well against a team that fought really hard like we knew they would.

"From where we came from last week, that was a loss that could break a lot of teams but I was confident we weren't one of those teams.

"I could feel it and I thought we handled that week superbly, turned up here and did what we needed to like good cricket teams do.

"When you get a bunch of people together who have worked so hard for a common goal, to be able to carry it out over here with the pressure and the crowds and everything that's been thrown at us and I couldn't be more proud of the way the group have handled it."

While Smith has undoubtedly been the star of the series so far, Labuschagne - originally introduced as a concussion substitute for Australia's former captain - has settled in seamlessly after coming in at Lord's.

Though much of his work has been with the bat and in the field, Labuschagne made the breakthrough when he ended Leach's stubborn stand, and Paine lauded the 25-year-old's impact.

"Marnus has been working really hard on his leg-spin bowling. He's bowled a lot of overs for Glamorgan which has helped him, he's improving all the time," Paine said.

"He's just one of those cricketers, if you tell a youngish part-time spinner to warm up at that stage in a Test match, I don't think many of them would want to bowl. Marnus wanted to bowl and he wants to bat in the games when the best bowlers are on. 

"He's a really exciting cricketer for us and one we can build our team around in the future."

Captain Tim Paine hailed team-mate Steve Smith as "clearly the best player we've seen" after Australia retained the Ashes on Sunday.

Australia moved 2-1 up in the series with one match to play following a 185-run win over England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

Central to their success on English soil has been the stunning form of former skipper Smith, who lit up Manchester with 211 and 82 in his two innings.

Speaking to the BBC, Paine said: "He's clearly the best player we've seen; there's no doubt about that. His ability to go anywhere in the world and score runs against all types of attacks is just phenomenal."

A visibly emotional Paine praised the English crowds and says the atmosphere they created makes the victory even sweeter.

Australia arrived in England as holders of the Ashes urn, meaning that to retain it they only needed to avoid a series defeat.

"I didn't think it would be this emotional," Paine said. "I'm really proud of this group and how we bounced back from [defeat at] Headingley.

"The atmosphere, I was just saying to the guys, at every ground has been unbelievable.

"The noise they make here and the passion they have for cricket makes this moment all the more special.

"We're thrilled. This is what we came here to do, to take the Ashes home. We'll have a bloody good night tonight together and celebrate, but we'll be back on deck next week [for the fifth test at the Oval]. We want to win the Ashes 3-1."

Steve Smith was in formidable form once again, scoring a brilliant double century to put Australia in a commanding position on day two of the fourth Ashes Test against England at Old Trafford.

Former Australia captain Smith marked his return to the line-up after missing the previous match at Headingley – which saw the hosts draw level in the series at 1-1 thanks to Ben Stokes' heroics – due to concussion with a stunning 211.

Tim Paine (58) was put down twice and Mitchell Starc (54 not out) cut loose to add to England's frustrations on a tough day in Manchester, Australia eventually declaring on 497-8 in the final session.

Smith looked out of sorts early on and was dropped by Jofra Archer on 65, but he held firm and brought up his 11th Ashes hundred – a tally only the great Don Bradman has bettered.

Jack Leach (2-83) thought he had Smith out on 118 but the spinner overstepped, and the 30-year-old took full advantage of the reprieves to dish out further punishment.

England were dealt a late blow when Matthew Wade snaffled Joe Denly superbly at short leg off Pat Cummins, though Rory Burns and nightwatchman Craig Overton held firm in the closing overs as the hosts reached 23-1.

Smith appeared flustered when Australia resumed on 170-3 and would have been dismissed in the opening session had Archer been able to hold on to a tough caught-and-bowled chance.

Stuart Broad (3-97) got the breakthrough by trapping Travis Head (19) leg before and Australia were 224-5 when Wade (16) skied Leach to Joe Root following a short rain delay.

Paine was put down by Jason Roy at second slip on nine in the first over after lunch as the wheels came off for England, the Australia skipper and Smith building a 145-run stand for the sixth wicket.

It could have been very different for England had Leach not been pinged for a no ball when Smith edged to Stokes at slip, while Sam Curran – on for Stokes, who left the field briefly due to a shoulder issue – failed to hold on when Paine pulled Archer (0-97) straight to him when one shy of his half-century.

Starc provided the perfect foil for the expansive Smith after the losses of Paine and Cummins, launching Broad for four successive fours.

Smith received a warm ovation after reverse sweeping England skipper Root to backward point to end his superb knock, though Starc and Nathan Lyon (26no) heaped yet more misery on the lacklustre hosts.

 

SMITH PRODUCES ANOTHER MASTERCLASS

His fidgety start did not suggest his third-best score in Tests was on the cards, but Smith soon regained his composure and was in fine fettle after a rain-shortened opening day.

Smith hit 24 fours and a pair of sixes in an outstanding innings that means all three of his double centuries in the longest format have come in Ashes matches.

ENGLAND REQUIRE SOMETHING SPECIAL

Smith's work undoubtedly has England on the back foot and they will require a seriously impressive day with the bat if they are to keep their hopes of regaining the urn alive.

After a battling second-innings half-century at Headingley, Denly failed to do anything to ease ongoing questions over the state of the hosts' top order.

MOMENT OF THE DAY

Smith's double ton would not have come to pass had Archer reacted quicker to the opportunity off his own bowling in the opening session.

The paceman was down on his haunches after seeing the top-ranked Test batsman's shot down the ground slip through his fingers.  

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Starc scored his first Test half-century since February 2017 (against India).
- Archer registered his worst red-ball figures (0-97).
- Smith has more runs in four innings than anyone else in Test cricket in 2019.
- Paine ended a run of 17 Test innings without a half-century.

Ben Stokes was troubled by a shoulder injury as Steve Smith and Tim Paine heaped further pain on abysmal England to put Australia in command at tea on day two of the fourth Ashes Test.

The tourists will start the final session on 369-5 with the astonishing Smith unbeaten on 173 - his third century and biggest score of the series so far - and Paine 58 not out in a stand of 145, but it could have been a very different story at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Smith was dropped by Jofra Archer on 65 and had a huge reprieve when he edged Jack Leach to Stokes at first slip with 118 to his name, replays showing the spinner had overstepped.

Paine was also given two lives and made England suffer by scoring his first half-century of the series as the wheels came off for Joe Root's side.

Headingley hero Stokes spent a short time off the field in an extended afternoon session due to rain on day one. While he did return, England were reeling after levelling the series in such dramatic fashion in Leeds.

Archer put Smith down in the second over of the day after Australia resumed on 170-3, but Stuart Broad - the pick of the bowlers with 3-74 - got the breakthrough by trapping Travis Head leg before.

Matthew Wade had a rush of blood and was caught by Root off Leach, yet the busy Smith reached three figures yet again before lunch after playing with increasing fluency following a somewhat shaky start.

England lost the plot following lunch, Jason Roy dropping Paine off Archer on nine at second slip before Smith was given another let-off when he nicked to Stokes, Leach paying the price for a no-ball.

Paine was spilled again, this by Sam Curran - on for Stokes, one short of a half-century and he was still there with the magnificent Smith at tea, the pair putting Australia in a great position.

Tim Paine has no doubt Usman Khawaja will recover from a poor run of form that has seen the batsman dropped from Australia's squad for the fourth Ashes Test.

Khawaja has scored a combined 122 runs across six innings so far this series, averaging just over 20 with a high score of 40.

Leading run scorer Steve Smith was absent for Australia at Headingley, as Ben Stokes inspired England to a remarkable one-wicket victory, but the visitors' talisman will return at Old Trafford, with Khawaja the player to drop out.

Marnus Labuschagne seems set to move up to three, with Smith coming in at four, but Paine insists Khawaja – who captained Australia in a tour match at Derby last week – has not been dropped for good.

"Usman is obviously a key player in our side batting at three and he hasn't scored the runs," Paine told a news conference.

"With Steve coming back, it was a tough decision to make on Usman. We think he's still got a lot of cricket left in him, he's got a good Test record over his career and we expect he'll bounce back pretty strongly."

When asked how long Khawaja's place had been under threat, Paine replied: "I'm not sure, I'm not a selector. I give my opinion. It was only spoke about, as far as I'm aware of, this week.

"Usman hasn't scored the runs he would like or we would like, so unfortunately for him Steve missed the last Test and when a player that good comes back someone has to make way.

"It's a good thing for us we've got a player of Usman's quality on the sidelines. It means we're getting our team to where we want to be."

While Khawaja will not feature at Old Trafford, Mitchell Starc could be in line to make his return to Australia's bowling attack, having been selected in the 12-man squad.

"He's in the 12, so he's close," Paine said. "We'll have another check of the wicket today, it looks pretty dry, it's got a bit of pace in it.

"Starc bowled superbly last week at Derby, he's got his length right and we’re really pleased at what he did down there.

"He's a great option for us, we think this wicket might suit him. If we make that call we're sure he'll do a great job."

Paine's captaincy has come under scrutiny following the defeat in Leeds, while England paceman Jofra Archer said he believed Australia became complacent in the third Test.

"Jofra's entitled to his opinion, he's had plenty of those before," Paine responded. "We made mistakes, it happens, we've addressed it as a team, spoke about it honestly.

"I was certainly one of those people that made mistakes. It happens in cricket, we're here, we've moved on and ready for this Test match."

Australia have named a much-changed team for their tour match against Derbyshire as they begin preparations for the fourth Ashes Test.

The tourists were beaten in a draining third match at Headingley as Ben Stokes produced one of Test cricket's greatest innings to secure a one-wicket England win.

From that side, unsurprisingly, there are a number of changes against Derbyshire for the fixture starting on Thursday, with Steve Smith recalled following his absence with concussion.

"I'm feeling pretty good," he said. "I faced some bowlers in the nets the other day. It's a bit of a slow process, you've got to tick off a few different boxes.

"I'm going well and will play the Derby game. Get through that and I'm pretty confident I'll be right for the fourth Test match."

Smith is joined in the side by Alex Carey, who will take the gloves in captain Tim Paine's absence, and Mitchell Starc, who will look to force his way into the bowling attack.

Carey, who played at the Cricket World Cup, had been in county action with Sussex but has been called in to join the Australia group.

Cameron Bancroft and Peter Siddle return, while Mitchell Marsh and Michael Neser come in, with seven changes made in all.

Usman Khawaja is named captain of the side against Derbyshire, while Marnus Labuschagne, Smith's concussion replacement, remains.

David Warner, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon, who was heavily involved in the closing stages of England dramatic series-levelling win, are among those rested.

 

Australia XI to play Derbyshire: Usman Khawaja, Cameron Bancroft, Alex Carey, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, Matthew Wade.

Pat Cummins was impressed with Tim Paine's response to Australia's difficult defeat in the third Ashes Test and is confident they can bounce back.

Australia looked to have wrapped up the match at Headingley and retained the urn on Sunday, only for Ben Stokes to produce an incredible unbeaten 135 to hand England victory by a single wicket.

There were numerous errors from the tourists in the closing stages, most notably the decision from captain Paine to waste a review against Jack Leach shortly before Stokes appeared to be trapped in front and umpire Joel Wilson gave not out.

But while Paine has come in for criticism, star bowler Cummins saw his skipper respond in a positive way as Australia prepare to take the fight to Old Trafford.

"Painey's been brilliant," Cummins said. "He walked straight into the changing room and said, 'It's 1-1, it's all good. Two more matches to go.'

"Bowlers, him as a captain, everyone makes decisions and you reflect after the game on what you could have done differently.

"But when you look at it, a couple of catches, maybe a missed run out... When a batsman comes out and scores 100-odd like that, hitting sixes off an off-spinner out of the rough so cleanly, you've just got to say, 'Well done.'

"Someone's had a day out. We'll be alright."

Cummins felt Australia dealt well with a topsy-turvy Test, adding: "I was really proud of how everyone stayed quite level.

"When we bowled them out for 67 or when they got a partnership, we were quite even. It's the sign of a pretty confident squad."

He repeated that, ultimately, the defeat was more due to Stokes' brilliance than anything Australia did wrong.

"We're obviously disappointed," Cummins said. "It's not too often you get in that position and someone takes the game away from you like Ben Stokes did.

"We had a few chances, but it was one of the all-time great innings. There were a few things we could have done differently but, on the whole, he just played one of those innings that's hard to stop."

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