Paine reflects on 'the hardest day of cricket' in his career

Tim Paine, the Australian skipper, said that the crushing 242-run defeat the visitors suffered at the hands of England in the third ODI at Trent Bridge was the “hardest day of cricket I’ve ever had” in his life. Meanwhile, Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow reigned supreme with hundreds as the hosts ended up with a record-breaking total of 481 for 6 and clinched the five-match series 3-0.

Paine pointed out that Australia have an inexperienced bowling line-up, evidenced by the grand total of just 21 ODIs between the side’s front-line bowlers who took part in the game. The Australian captain, though, added that they should use the shellacking at the hands of England batsmen as a learning experience and motivation for future games. Just to capsulise Australia’s bowling woes, Andrew Tye’s nine overs went for 100 runs, while Jhye Richardson’s 10 overs cost 92 runs.

“We have a really inexperienced attack and we would be foolish not to go through it and learn from it,” Paine said. “But the best place for these guys to learn is on the job. As bad as it seems and it feels right now, this can be a really big positive for us going forward, that we have gone through a day like this and the guys realise the sun comes up tomorrow and we get another crack at England in two days’ time.

“When we are out there it’s all about staying as calm and as clear as possible. And that can be really difficult for a bowler when you are getting smacked around the ground and the crowd is going berserk.

“It can be hard to stay on track and even the simplest plans can be forgotten. I was just trying to remain as calm as I possibly could with them. I know they are a really inexperienced attack and we just kept talking about what we could do and what we said we would do and trying to keep it calm and simple.

“When those players are putting you under pressure it doesn’t matter who you are, you can lose your line and length and we certainly did at times. Our bowlers kept running in and our fielding energy and stuff like that was really good for 50 overs. As I said, the best place for these guys to learn is out in the middle and we’d be foolish not to learn anything from today. No doubt we’ll talk about it at length and get some things out of it,” he observed.

Paine, on his part, gave credit to England’s batsmen for their ability to hit the big shots. “I’ve been playing cricket since I was a kid and that is the hardest day’s cricket I have ever had in my life. Everything we tried didn’t work, everything they tried came off. Normally that happens for an hour or two then you get a couple of wickets. But for it to happen as long as it did, you have to take your hat off. They struck the ball as well as I have ever seen. That was three or four guys having an absolute day out all at the same time,” he said.

Paine also explained about the move to play Aaron Finch in the middle order. The aggressive opener batted in the middle order for the first time in his ODI career in Cardiff. He again slotted in at No.5 in the Trent Bridge ODI. “Clearly we know what Aaron Finch can do at the top of the order and we have no issues with that. But we’ve had some issues as a team over a period of time which have been in that middle order, so we want to see Finchy there for a little bit to see if he’s a guy who can do it in the World Cup. It could change though. Looking forward, we have 12 months until the World Cup and we are looking at some options,” he noted.

Australia have now lost 16 of their last 18 ODIs which includes four successive bilateral series defeats. The visitors would look to salvage some pride and eke out wins in the last two games of the series to be played at the Riverside Ground and Old Trafford, on 21st and 24th respectively.

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