Labuschagne showed great character, skill and technique: Tim Paine

Tags: The Ashes 2019, Australia, England, Marnus Labuschagne, Timothy David Paine

Published on: Aug 19, 2019

Australia managed to escape with a draw in the tantalising second Ashes Test at Lord's. Set to chase 267 after Ben Stokes' hundred saw England recover from a precarious position, the Aussies were in trouble as the top order succumbed yet again to Jofra Archer. The absence of the unfit Steve Smith added to the visitors' woes. However, Smith's concussion replacement Marnus Labuschagne stood up with a soild half-century to keep a rampant England at bay.

This was after Archer rattled David Warner and Usman Khawaja while Jack Leach got rid of the struggling Cameron Bancroft. The duo returned to torment Australia in the second half of their innings as well. But Labuschagne found a mature partner in Travis Head and the duo bailed Australia out of trouble in rather stubborn fashion.

Despite the close shave, Australia captain Tim Paine refused to accept that it was a great escape for the visitors. He instead pointed towards the fact that Australia are still 1-0 in the series. Paine also admitted that Archer bowled really well but added that the Aussies did well to stand up to his fearsome pace, especially in the first innings.

"I wouldn't say it was a great escape at all. I would've said we played reasonably well to 3-130 and then you have a little something that doesn't quite go your way and you've got a guy bowling 150ks and it's quite dark and it's difficult. That's Test cricket but we found a way out of it. I'm really proud of our team," the Australian captain was quoted as saying in a Cricbuzz report after the match.

Paine was expectedly all praise for Labuschagne, who came in as Test cricket's first concussion substitute and played the innings to save Australia from defeat. Labuschagne had big shoes to fill, to step in for Smith, and he did admirably well.

"Marnus came in today and batted as well as anyone in the Test match in I think the hardest conditions of the Test match. It was dark, it was spinning, it was fast and moving around a bit. I thought handled it as well as anyone in the whole Test. But Marnus played superbly, for a guy in probably his third of fourth Test. He got hit hard in the face second ball and I thought he showed great character great skill and technique," Paine adde

Asked about Archer's impact on the Test and possibly the rest of the series, Paine, who himself fell to the pacer, remained defiant. "It's 1-nil, we go to a Test match next week in Leeds. We're in a great position. We're happy with the position we're in. I thought Jofra bowled really well in this game. I thought particularly in the first innings. I think we faced 100 odd overs. So there were periods of times where I thought we batted really well, played Jofra well."

Paine also defended the openers, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who are yet to make any impact in the series with two Tests gone. "We know how good David is, he's got 7000 Test runs at 50 and Cameron Bancroft I thought in this game looked pretty good, faced a lot of balls. Probably would've liked to have scored a few more runs but I thought he acquitted himself pretty well again against some pretty high-quality bowling," Paine added in the Cricbuzz report

On his own dismissal, getting out playing a hook shot in the final hour, Paine said he will not change his style of playing. "You don't have a lot of time to think. Sometimes you get it wrong. I was thinking about ducking under it, but 150 can make you do different things. I just didn't hit it where I would have liked to have hit it. I am not going to over think it. I am going to keep playing the way I want to play," he expained about his dismissal.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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