Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
Aussie skipper ‘proud’ after great escape
Tim Paine bursting with pride after Australia recovers from first-innings collapse to snatch draw in Dubai
Louis Cameron in Dubai
12 October 2018, 10:42 AM AEST
After the year the Australian men's cricket team has had, Tim Paine couldn't have asked for a better response to an initial dose of adversity in his first Test as full-time captain.
The new skipper was bursting with pride as Australia successfully pulled off the impossible on Thursday in Dubai, as his side batted out nearly five full sessions in sweltering heat on a wearing pitch against a couple of world-class Pakistan bowlers to seal a draw.
While Usman Khawaja's 302-ball 141 will go down as one of the game's most memorable knocks, it was Paine (61 off 194 balls) who was there at the end, seeing out the final balls of the match in what was comfortably the most important innings of his career.
The leadership traits that saw him installed as captain in the aftermath of the Cape Town ball-tampering saga were on display even after he'd finished batting. Walking off the field, Paine motioned to his team's dressing room to keep a lid on their celebrations. In his post-game interview on television, he stressed that his side's great escape did not feel like a win.
But asked if he'd had ever had a prouder moment on the cricket field, Paine told reporters: "Probably not, not in these circumstances, coming from where we came from our collapse (of 10-60) on day three.
"I was just really proud of the way we stuck at it, we spoke pre-series about the need to really fight here and show real patience.
"It's one thing to talk about it, it's another thing to do it after you've had a 10-60 collapse.
"That can shake a few people’s belief. Credit to our whole staff to keep the boys together and thinking clearly. We never lost hope that we could do that today.
"There were probably times where (a draw) was a bit of a dream. We just fought, dug in and played a brand the Australian cricket team wants to play."
Paine remains without a win as Australia captain but after the stresses of South Africa and the misery of the ensuing one-day tour of England, it was undoubtedly his finest moment as skipper.
Leadership aside, the 33-year-old has also quietly established himself as one of the more important players in the side from a pure skills perspective.
His Test batting average ticked over to 42 after Thursday's knock having only been dismissed for single digits twice since returning to the Test side last summer, while his glovework was near flawless in the UAE series-opener, taking three catches up to the stumps off spinners in grueling conditions for wicketkeepers.
Pakistan had looked like they'd finally broken Australia's resistance when Yasir Shah removed Khawaja and took three wickets in eight balls as stumps neared on day five, but Paine was able to calmly guide his side to stumps along with No.10 Nathan Lyon.
With a little inspiration from an unlikely source.
"We were both a bit nervous, no doubt about that," Paine explained.
"I felt in a really good space when I was batting with Uz. (We) just sort of got a partnership going.
"But as the wickets started to fall and the overs were getting closer it was a nervous feeling. 'Lyno' and I were actually talking about - because both of our families aren't actually here at the moment and the rest of the guys' are - we were just going to go down to the team room tonight and watch a few episodes of The Inbetweeners.
"That was what was getting Lyno through so I just went with him.
"Apparently we're going to order a pizza tonight, go down to the team room and put Inbetweeners on.
"That's our reward. That's what got us through the last six or seven overs."
Qantas Tour of the UAE
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc
Pakistan Test squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Hafeez
Oct 7-11: First Test, drawn
Oct 16-20: Second Test, Abu Dhabi