'It’s frustrating' - Tim Paine lambasts Michael Vaughan's 'playing with fear' remark on Australia's batting
Australia retained the Ashes urn after the fourth Test ended in a draw. The fifth Test is tantalising poised with Australia needing 249 runs to win on Day 5 with ten wickets in hand.
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England's enterprising 'Bazball' approach enthralled the fans during the Ashes, but Australia's sedate gameplan helped them retain the coveted urn. Prior to the fifth Test, England scored their runs at a scoring rate of 4.68 compared to just 3.39 for their arch-rivals.
On Day 2 of the ongoing fifth Test in London, Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja batted conservatively against a potent England bowling attack and stitched an overall partnership of 42 runs in 156 deliveries. Specifically, on Day 2, the duo scored only 30 runs in 107 balls in the morning session. After this attritional performance, former England captain Michael Vaughan stated that he had never seen Australia bat with so much fear.
“They are taking home the urn, but I’ve never seen Australia play with so much fear,” Vaughan had told the BBC.
Former Australian captain Tim Paine hit back at Vaughan's assessment as he explained that playing aggressively in Tests isn't always necessary and it is important to respect the conditions.
"It’s frustrating when you hear things like that. He’s entitled to his opinion and maybe it was the worst he’s ever seen them bat, although I think that’s a fair stretch over his whole career. Given how dark it was, the lights were on, how well England were bowling. Paine said on SEN Tassie Breakfast.
“There’s no doubt that Marnus is not batting anywhere near his best at the moment. However, it’s a Test match and you’re allowed to fight, you’re allowed to dig in. If it gets hard in a Test match, you don’t have to slog, you don’t have to try and belt the ball everywhere. You can actually put a price on your wicket to try and dig deep for your team."
Day 5 begins after a brief rain delay
The rain gods were not too kind on Day 4, as only 39.5 overs of play was possible. Australia went through to Stumps unscathed at 135/0 with 249 runs still to get for a 3-1 series win. England, on the other hand, need 8 wickets to square the series.
The forecast for Day 5 in London isn't very promising. The start of play was delayed by a few minutes but thankfully, no overs were lost. Fans will be hoping that rain stays away so that a result is possible.