Australia's Tim Paine hits back at Jofra Archer ahead of fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford

Tim Paine
Tim Paine

Australia captain Tim Paine has hit back at Jofra Archer's suggestion that Australia "panicked" during their dramatic defeat to England in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

Paine's side looked certain to clinch an Ashes-retaining victory, only for Ben Stokes' unbeaten 135 and a last-wicket stand with Jack Leach to carry England to an improbable win.

The Australia captain came in for criticism for his approach to that partnership.

Paine admits he got his field placings wrong, but rejects claims that he and his side panicked.

When asked if that was the case, Paine replied: "No. Jofra is entitled to his opinion - he's had plenty of those that's for sure - but as I said, we made some mistakes. It happens. We have addressed it as a team.

"I was certainly one of those people who made mistakes. We move on and we are here ready for another great Test match.

"I would do some things differently with my field placings. As I said, the mistakes have been made. We have learnt from it."

Australia have dropped number three Usman Khawaja for the fourth Test as Steve Smith returns to the side following the concussion he suffered during the second Test at Lord's.

Smith's replacement Marnus Labuschagne kept his place after scoring three successive half-centuries.

"Usman is obviously a key player in the side batting at number three and he hasn't scored the runs that he or we would like," Paine said.

"With Steve Smith coming back it was a tough decision to make on Usman.

"He has still got a lot of cricket left in him and has a very good Test record over his career. We expect him to bounce back pretty strongly."

Paceman Mitchell Starc has also returned to the squad having been overlooked for the first three Tests, with James Pattinson dropping out.

"Mitchell is in the 12 so he is close. We will have another look at the wicket today, it looks pretty dry but hopefully it has got a bit of pace in it," Paine added.

"Starcy bowled superbly last week at Derby. He has been working really hard on getting his length right and we were really impressed.

"We know what he can do to tail-end batters when he cranks it up. The boys have been calling him 'the mop' for a few years now. That is a thing that he does really well.

"He is a great option for us. We think this wicket might suit him and - if we make that call - we are sure he will do a great job."

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