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.”
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) August 27, 2019
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.”