Despite having seen his team pull off a magnificent escape on Day 5 of the first Test against Pakistan at Dubai, Australian captain Tim Paine has said that even though it was a brilliant performance from his team in tough alien conditions, the draw "doesn't feel like a win" and the team from down under have a lot of areas to improve upon before all-important next Test.
Chasing the impregnable target in the final innings on a turning pitch, the Australian batting line-up put their heads down and focussed hard on their defense versus the likes of Yasir Shah and Bilal Asif.
That is how Usman Khawaja scored his first Test hundred in Asia and amassed an outstanding knock of 141. The effort was followed by Travis Head (72) and the admirable leader Paine himself, who stayed till the end for his solid knock of 61 to save the Test match.
Paine should be and is proud of his team but knows it needs to be more concerned about the overall game, where they were largely dominated.
“It doesn’t feel like a win,” Paine was quoted saying after the match, “We were outplayed. We’re proud to get something out of it, but we can play a lot better in the next Test," he reiterated and stressed, "It was a really tough five days. Pakistan played outstandingly well and put us under pressure from the first day. For us to get a draw out of that from where we came from at one stage on the third day is an outstanding effort from our group and we can be very proud of that.”
“We want to be a team that fights all the time and never gives in. I think we can take a lot of belief out of what’s happened in the last few days and take that through to the next Test with confidence,” he added.
Paine showered huge praise on Usman Khawaja by saying, "I think Usman played one of the best innings you’ll ever see anywhere in Test cricket. On that wicket on day five, he really showed guts, and determination, but he also showed the high level of skill he’s got. While he was there I was always confident that we could get through,"
He further said, “It was an amazing innings, full of everything you’d want from a Test match innings," and added, "People will talk about how much he fought and the conditions, but it was amazing batting with him to see just how good he is in that skill sense.”
On his own dogged and fortitude innings, Paine said, “I was just trying to bat for as long as I could, there was no real secret to it. I was just trying to watch the ball as hard as I could and play straight,” and signed off.
The second Test at Abu Dhabi begins October 16.
(With inputs from ICC)