Tim Paine has vowed there will be no let-up from Australia, calling the Oval Test their “grand final” as they look to win the Ashes outright.
Australia retained the urn with a 185-run victory at Old Trafford in the fourth Test, with the win moving them 2-1 up with one to play.
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Paine’s men will become the first Australia side to win a Test series in England since 2001 if they avoid defeat in the last match, which is live on Sky Sports The Ashes from 10am on Thursday.
“We are very hungry – we have spoken a lot about it. We came here to win the Ashes not just retain them,” said the Australia captain.
“Last week’s result was brilliant and we played very well but all the guys are fully aware that this Test is bigger. It’s our grand final. We want this Test as much as any other in this series.
“We have to stick to what we are doing and if we do that then I think we will be right in the mix.”
Paine’s England counterpart, Joe Root, has come under scrutiny, after now presiding over two Ashes series in which his side has failed to claim the urn.
Root’s form with the bat has also dipped, he averages just 30 against Australia this summer and has suffered three ducks.
Paine insists he takes no enjoyment in seeing his opposite number under pressure, saying he knows how Root feels after he copped some flak after Australia’s third-Test defeat at Headingley.
“Not really. It has no effect on us,” Paine said when asked whether he took pleasure in Root’s struggles. “A week is a long time in cricket – it was the same for me last week [after Headingley].
“Root is a fantastic cricketer – he averages close to 50 so I don’t get sometimes why he is under so much scrutiny.
“We know how competitive he is, how good he is – we know he’ll come hard and look to bounce back. He’s a huge wicket for us, like he always is.”
Paine, 34, also says he is not thinking about standing down as Australia captain anytime soon.
England vs Australia
September 12, 2019, 10:00am
“I’m enjoying what I’m doing and whilst I can continue to contribute in some way I’ll continue to do it,” said the Tasmanian, who took over the role last year in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
“I constantly talk to [coach] Justin Langer and [chairman of selectors] Trevor Hohns about what might happen, or how long I might go for, but I think we’re all comfortable and we’re all on the same page, so it’s all good.”
Paine was recalled as wicketkeeper for the 2017/18 Ashes, which Australia won 4-0 at home, having made his previous four Test appearances in 2010 – two against Pakistan and two versus India.
“I did miss a lot, I suppose, in the prime years of my cricket career. The positive of that now is that physically I’m in really good condition for my age,” added Paine, who will play his 26th Test at The Oval this week.
“I feel really good after Test matches physically. Mentally, it’s a different story but it only takes a day to recover from that.
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