Tim Paine has his eyes on the prize.
Tim Paine has his eyes on the prize.

Hunger game: We want to finish in style

IT'S wonderful to have secured the Ashes, it's great to win a Test match over here, but we are very clear that we have one Test to go this week in London at The Oval and we want to win this series 3-1.

We want to stand on that podium at the end of the game after we have won it.

It is important we continue working hard and playing the sort of cricket we have for the whole series. No backward steps.

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The pictures taken after the win at Old Trafford are a little deceptive. There was more alcohol sprayed than drunk.

We were excited to have won the match and thrilled to have made sure the urn is ours but there was no huge celebration. We enjoyed a couple of songs, especially the team song in the middle but then we were out of there pretty quickly.

We all went out for dinner and I think most of us were in bed by midnight. A few of us didn't drink at all. All of us were on the team bus at 10am the following morning and we did a light training that afternoon when we arrived in London and checked into the hotel.

Tim Paine celebrates with his teammates after Australia's win in the fourth Test. Picture: AP
Tim Paine celebrates with his teammates after Australia's win in the fourth Test. Picture: AP

We've got a game on Thursday and had a good hit-out at the ground on Tuesday.

Don't get me wrong though, it was a great feeling to win in Manchester. You have to play good cricket to win in England, it's not an easy thing to do and when the sun started to set and their batsmen pushed the game into the last hour minds started to go back to Headingley.

We knew they couldn't win this match but the last thing we wanted was to get to this one with the series tied one-all.

It was just such a huge relief when the review came through and it was confirmed that Josh Hazlewood had taken the last wicket.

The Australia team got back down to business to prepare for the fifth Test at The Oval. Picture: AP
The Australia team got back down to business to prepare for the fifth Test at The Oval. Picture: AP

Tests over here are so hard for me to watch, they ebb and flow and are always an arm wrestle, it's an emotional roller coaster and there's no better feeling than the one we had at Edgbaston and Old Trafford.

It was obvious after lunch that they were not going to go for runs in this game as they had in the third Test so that freed us up a lot.

I think I read that I made 30 bowling changes and there was a good reason for that. With them not going after the ball I went to the bowlers and I said I wanted them all to be ready to go depending on who was facing.

I brought on Marnus because Leach was on strike and I knew it was harder with the way he spins it to the left-hander.

Josh Hazlewood secured the final wicket in the fourth Test at Old Trafford. Picture: Getty Images
Josh Hazlewood secured the final wicket in the fourth Test at Old Trafford. Picture: Getty Images

Nathan Lyon was bowling brilliantly to him, but I knew it was harder with the ball going the other way.

That paid off and he was taken out of the attack immediately because I wanted Josh to bowl to Craig Overton. If Stuart Broad was facing I wanted to get Mitchell Starc bowling to him.

One of the reasons the celebrations got so messy in the rooms was we had Glenn McGrath and Steve Waugh with us.

Glenn loves a win and set the tone at Edgbaston and the boys just love having those guys around. They have such passion for and knowledge of the game.

Steve is loving it, he is always around helping people out. When he talks to you you believe it and you believe in yourself. Ricky Ponting is the only other player I know who has that effect on us.

Marnus Labuschagne repaid Tim Paine’s faith in his bowling by claiming the wicket of Jack Leach on the final day at Old Trafford. Picture: Getty Images
Marnus Labuschagne repaid Tim Paine’s faith in his bowling by claiming the wicket of Jack Leach on the final day at Old Trafford. Picture: Getty Images

Supporter Luke Sparrow from Waving the Flag joined us for a while as well. He celebrated his 200th Test on this tour and it's important to have characters like him around.

I'm really conscious of the Australians who make the effort to follow us around and it was great to go over to the stands to acknowledge the tour groups after the game. All the England fans had left and it was as if we had taken over.

Sometimes during the game one of the boys runs up and says "shhhhhh, can you hear that" and you stop and notice that the English crowds have gone silent and the only people you can hear are your supporters. It's a great feeling.

A lot has been said about Steve Smith's efforts in this series and I'll add one more.

He is a legend.

News Corp Australia


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