Steve Smith has denied suggestions he was trying to undermine Australia captain Tim Paine in the second Test against Pakistan.

Australia earned a resounding innings-and-48-run victory over Pakistan in Adelaide to seal a 2-0 series triumph.

However, Smith – who was replaced by Paine after being banned for his role in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal last year – was accused by ex-skipper Ian Chappell of making field adjustments without first talking to his captain.

Speaking on Macquarie Sports Radio when calling the Test, Chappell said: "I tell you what I don't like to see, Steve Smith is moving a few fieldsmen around.

"He did have a chat with Tim Paine, trying to talk Tim Paine into moving a fielder on the off-side, but I'm not sure Tim Paine moved him as far as Steve Smith wanted.

"Steve Smith started moving him, I hate to see that. England used to do it a bit, blokes other than the captain and I always felt it was white-anting the captain."

Smith, though, insists his intentions were good and his only aim was to try to help the team.

"Look I only try to help Tim as much as I can, you know," he told Channel Nine. 

"He's doing a terrific job. But I give him suggestions and things like that, I only want the team to do well, I'm certainly not undermining him."

Smith was uncharacteristically out of touch with the bat, scoring just 40 runs across the two Tests but, while disappointed on a personal level, was happy to see the team perform to such a high standard.

"I always hate not being out there doing it myself but it's great to see the boys out there play so well and get us two great victories," Smith added.

Tim Paine has called for an end to comparisons between the pink ball and its red counterpart in Test cricket, arguing the day-night format should be embraced for its entertainment value.

Paine saw his Australia side wrap up a 2-0 series win over Pakistan with a dominant victory at Adelaide Oval, the hosts triumphing by an innings and 48 runs.

Critics of the pink ball, including Australia paceman Mitchell Starc, which is used for day-night Tests argue it acts too similarly to a white one in limited-overs cricket.

But the huge attendances in Adelaide, who witnessed David Warner make a triple century, are proof the nuances of day-night cricket must be celebrated, according to Paine.

"I think what we want is people watching Test match cricket and I think the pink-ball day-night Test certainly makes that happen," said Australia's captain.

"It's bringing new people to the game. I think what we need to stop doing is trying to compare the pink ball to the red ball. It's not going to behave the same, it isn't the same ball. 

"From a players' point of view again, day-night Test cricket creates different challenges so the best players will again find way to succeed. And Mitchell Starc has done it. His record is unbelievably good with the pink ball.

"David Warner has just got a triple century. Marnus [Labuschagne] got a 100. All the good players still score runs and take wickets regardless of the colour I think it's just a slight shift in how we think about it. 

"It's not going to behave like a red ball, it's not going to behave like a white ball. It's going to behave like a pink ball. And at the moment it's relatively new and we're getting used to it. 

"It can be a challenging fielding at night and being in the slips but I don't think that's any different to a white ball sometimes either.

"It's just something players will adapt to and get better at but in terms of the product I think it's good to watch."

Tim Paine hopes Australia continue with the tradition of playing their first home Test at the Gabba after a crushing victory over Pakistan at the venue - provided they get Virat Kohli's permission.

A fine century from the brilliant Babar Azam was not enough to prevent Pakistan slipping to an innings defeat on Sunday, the tourists bowled out for 335 in their second innings.

The result stretches Australia's unbeaten run at the venue to 31 Tests – the last visiting team to triumph in Brisbane was West Indies in 1988 – and puts them 1-0 up in the two-match series.

However, captain Paine is unsure if they will be starting at the Gabba again next year, cheekily suggesting the potential schedule for the four-Test series against India is yet to receive the approval of counterpart Kohli.

Asked if he would like to start against India at the same venue, the wicketkeeper replied: "We'll certainly try. We will have to run that by Virat, but we will get an answer from him at some stage, I'm sure.

"That’s where we like to start our summer, as has been the case for a long, long time.

"As I said, we will ask Virat and see if we can get his permission to play here – maybe even get a pink-ball Test if he's in a good mood. We will have to wait and see."

Paine added: "We like to start here against anyone. Having said that, it [the venue] doesn't win games of cricket. The reason we win games of cricket at the Gabba is because we outplay our opposition."

Australia certainly outplayed Pakistan, aided by a new-look top three all contributing big scores.

David Warner returned to form after a lean Ashes tour with 154, while opening partner Joe Burns fell narrowly short of reaching three figures, making 97 after being recalled to the top of the order.

There was also a maiden Test ton for number three Marnus Labuschagne, who was named man of the match for his 185 that helped the hosts post 580 all out in their solitary innings in the contest.

While refusing to get too carried away by the early success, Paine hopes Australia have now settled on their batting line-up in the longest format.

"We've known Burnsy is a quality opening batsman for some time, it's great to have him back in the side," he said. "He's got a great combination happening with David.

"Marnus was given some opportunities 18 months ago when some people thought he should not, but the selectors saw the talent he had, and he's taken the experience he got then from Test cricket, gone to England and got even better, come home and looks like he got better again.

"We're really happy with the top three in this game. One innings doesn't make a summer, but happy with the positive signs we saw."

Australia and Pakistan conclude the series with a day-night Test in Adelaide, which begins on Friday.

Tim Paine insists Australia have done their research in preparation for facing Pakistan's youthful pace attack in the first Test at the Gabba.

The tourists' line-up is set to include 16-year-old Test debutant Naseem Shah, as well as fellow teenagers Shaheen Afridi and Musa Khan.

Pakistan will need all three to be on their game as the visitors are huge underdogs, having not won a Test in Australia since 1995.

But captain Paine revealed a methodical approach which suggests the hosts will not be underestimating their opponents in Brisbane.

"We've prepared for all of them. That's the thing with Pakistan, they have a lot of different options, a lot of skill and, by the looks of it, a fair bit of pace," he said.

"So we've made sure we've looked at as much footage as possible of their pace attack, and their batters.

"What we don't want is to go out there at some stage and be surprised by something we see, whether that's their spinner, their quicks or their batsmen. So we've done our research."

On the subject of Naseem, who has having to deal with the recent loss of his mother, Paine was full of praise ahead of the match, which starts on Thursday. 

"He looks like a really, really exciting talent," he said.

"Pakistan have got a knack of finding these young fast bowlers so it looks like they have another one to add to that rich history of fast bowlers that they seem to produce."

Steve Smith apologised to his Australia team-mates after being fined for dissent in the Sheffield Shield as captain Tim Paine reminded the squad of their responsibilities.

Ex-skipper Smith was hit with a 25 per cent fine of his match fee for his objection to being given out caught behind when representing New South Wales against Western Australia.

It was one of two high-profile reprimands in the latest round of fixtures, with paceman James Pattinson suspended for the first Test against Pakistan for using abusive language in Victoria's clash with Queensland.

Star batsman Smith admitted he must behave in a more appropriate manner out in the middle when dismissed.

"I came in and apologised to the group for getting a code of conduct," Smith said ahead of Australia's Test series with Pakistan. 

"I don't think there was a great deal in it but I've copped it and I have to look at when I get out and the way I conduct myself. 

"I know lots of kids watch me play and watch all of us play and the way we conduct ourselves when we get out as well as when we're batting.

"We have to be very mindful of that and sometimes just bite the bullet and just conduct ourselves in, I guess, a better manner at times. 

"Sometimes your emotions can get the better of you out on the field. We're playing a game [where] everyone is trying to do their best and sometimes that happens.

"We sign up to values and in our contracts we've got a code of conduct there we have to play by. I got pinged and so be it. I felt I should apologise for that."

Paine believes the incidents are a reminder to the whole squad to act appropriately, no matter who they are representing.

"I think it's more just a reminder that we've got to set those standards all the time," he said.

"Whether we're playing for Australia or we're playing club cricket or we're playing for our states or we're not playing cricket, there are standards we set ourselves to live by day in and day out so it's important we do that whether we're on the field off the field, regardless of who we're playing for.

"We've had a couple of instances this week but we always revisit them. We did again last night, just to brush up on what's expected and what we expect of the group. 

"Both of those guys apologised, they know that they fell a little bit short of what we set ourselves in the Test team. 

"And the fact that it's important that we maintain that when we go back to state cricket and lead the way there. 

"They're disappointed with that but we are going to keep on top of it and maintain the level that we've set so far in the last couple of years."

Ben Stokes' claims that comments from David Warner helped fuel his Headingley heroics during the Ashes are just a way to "spike book sales", according to Australia captain Tim Paine.

England all-rounder Stokes played a knock for the ages in the third Ashes Test to salvage an unlikely victory after the hosts were bowled out for 67 in the first innings, delaying Australia's retaining of the urn until the fourth match at Old Trafford.

Recalling the events of the day in his new book 'On Fire', Stokes suggested some choice words from Warner, playing a first Test series after being banned for his role in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, focused his mind.

But Paine believes Stokes' version of events is merely a ploy to shift books off the shelves.

"I was obviously standing next to David the whole time and you are allowed to talk on the cricket field," Paine said.

"But by no means was he abusing him or sledging him. It just seems to be a common trend in England that they like to use Davey's name to spike book sales. So good luck to them."

In the book, Stokes claimed he would have accepted sledging from any other player.

"I had extra personal motivation due to some things that were said to me out on the field on the evening of day three when I was trying to get through to stumps," Stokes wrote. 

"A few of the Aussies were being quite chirpy, but in particular David Warner seemed to have his heart set on disrupting me.

"He just wouldn't shut up for most of my time out there. I could accept it from just about any other opponent. Truly. Not from him, though. 

"The changed man he was adamant he'd become, the one that hardly said boo to a goose and even went as far as claiming he had been re-nicknamed 'Humble' by his Australia team-mates, had disappeared. 

"Maybe his lack of form in his new guise had persuaded him that he needed to get the bull back?"

However, Paine said Warner deserved credit for the way he dealt with the taunts from the home crowd in England.

"I was standing right next to him, I had absolutely no issue," Paine added. "The way David handled himself during the Ashes was excellent. 

"Particularly given the fact he wasn't scoring a hell of a lot of runs and I'm pretty sure he was on the end of a fair bit himself on and off the field in England. 

"So, I thought he did a great job of handling that and held himself really well throughout the series. They write books to sell and they have to get headlines to get sales."

James Pattinson will miss Australia's first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba due to a suspension handed down by Cricket Australia (CA), it was announced on Sunday.

Australia and Victoria bowler Pattinson is ineligible for the series opener in Brisbane after being found guilty of a level two breach of CA's code of conduct for abuse of an opposition player in the Sheffield Shield.

The incident stems from Victoria's clash with Queensland in Melbourne and as it is Pattinson's third breach in the past 18 months, it triggered two suspension points and a subsequent one-match ban.

"I made a mistake in the heat of the moment," said Pattinson, who opted against contesting the charge. "Straight away I realised I was in the wrong, and I apologised immediately, both to the opponent and to the umpires.

"I have done the wrong thing and accept the penalty. I'm gutted to miss a Test match, but the standards are there for a reason and the fault is mine."

No replacement will be called into the Test squad for the Pakistan opener, which gets underway on Thursday.

"We have a duty to uphold the highest standards of behaviour and the action taken in this matter demonstrates that," CA's head of integrity and security Sean Carroll said. "On this occasion, James acknowledges he fell short of that expectation."

Australia captain Tim Paine told ABC Grandstand: "He knows that he's let himself down and let the group down. We hold ourselves to really high standards now with our behaviour ... so we're disappointed in that.

"James has owned up and he knows he's made a mistake. He's apologised for it and will come back bigger and better."

Tim Paine ended a 13-year wait for a second first-class century in Tasmania's Sheffield Shield opener against Western Australia on Saturday.

The Australia Test captain had failed to reach three figures in a first-class match since making 215 in a Pura Cup clash with Western Australia at the WACA Ground back in 2006.

Paine ended his drought against the same opponents on day three, top scoring with 121 in Tasmania's 397 all out.

The wicketkeeper-batsman downplayed his contribution with the bat, stating "it means nothing to me."

Western Australia were 148-2 in their second innings at stumps with a lead of 88, brother Shaun and Mitchell Marsh unbeaten on 74 and 51 respectively.

The 2019 Ashes certainly lived up to the pre-series hype.

England and Australia had no shortage of talent on display but also glaring holes in both sides were exposed over the course of five intriguing battles that provided plenty of twists and turns.

There were brilliant exhibitions of fast bowling. There were centuries (thanks largely to Steve Smith!). There was a fairy-tale finish for the ages, too, but in the end no outright winner.

Australia retained the Ashes but England's victory at The Oval in the fifth and final chapter means a 2-2 result, the first series draw between the rivals since 1972.

Here, Omnisport picks out the key moments as we recap each Test.

 

AUSTRALIA EIGHT DOWN, ANDERSON OUT

Tim Paine’s decision to bat first in the series opener appeared foolish when his side slipped to 122-8 on the opening day Edgbaston. Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes did the damage, but James Anderson was only able to bowl four overs before leaving the field.

His absence was keenly felt as, with Smith beginning his one-man crusade against the England attack, Australia’s last two wickets added 166 runs. Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon showed the supposed batsmen how it should be done in bowler-friendly conditions, supporting their former captain, who finished up with 144 as a potentially disastrous first innings was transformed into a competitive total.

Anderson, meanwhile, only appeared again in the game to bat due to a calf problem. He attempted a comeback in time to play at his home ground of Old Trafford later in the series, but a setback on second XI duty for Lancashire scuppered that plan, meaning England's all-time leading wicket-taker in the longest format sent down just 24 deliveries against Australia.

 

ARCHER MAKES AN INSTANT IMPACT 

With Anderson out, England handed a debut to Jofra Archer for the second Test at Lord's. The pace bowler had been a key component of the one-day squad that won the Cricket World Cup on home soil earlier in the year but warned the public not to expect "miracles" in his Test bow.

There was no miracle – Archer was not quite able to bowl England to victory in the final session of a game that had seen the entire first day wiped out by rain – but his performance caused quite a stir.

He claimed five wickets in the match, struck down Smith with a seriously quick bouncer when the batsman was seemingly on course for a third successive triple-figure knock and, subsequently, played his part in Test history as the first concussion substitute was used. Marnus Labuschagne was laid low by a delivery from Archer too, yet beat the count to carry on batting and make a crucial half-century to secure a draw.

 

HEADINGLEY MIRACLE - VOL II

At a venue where Ian Botham famously salvaged a seemingly lost cause to secure an unlikely Ashes victory in the 1981 series, Ben Stokes produced a performance at Headingley that will see him forever remembered in crick folklore.

Bowled out for just 67 in their first innings, England's valiant bid to reach a tough victory target of 359 appeared set to fall short when they slipped from 245-4 to 286-9 on the fourth afternoon. Yet Stokes refused to give in, choosing to go on the attack with a display of hitting that, with each boundary, raised the possibility of a stunning result.

The left-hander made 135 not out with eight sixes to drag his team over the line, aided by last-man Jack Leach surviving 17 balls and contributing a quick single that turned him into a cult hero. Australia failed to remain composed amid the carnage, wasting their final review and butchering a run-out chance when Lyon somehow fumbled a tame throw to the bowler's end.

 

SMITH AT THE DOUBLE

Having missed the defeat in Leeds due to concussion, Smith returned as the series shifted across the Pennines to Manchester – and made up for lost time with another telling contribution with the bat.  England's plans to rough him up with the short ball failed to pay off as the right-hander made his third Ashes double hundred, in the process taking his tally past 500 runs for a third successive series.

Given a life when dismissed off a no ball from spinner Leach, the former skipper finished up with 211 out of Australia's 497-8 declared. England avoided having to follow-on in reply but 82 from Smith second time around left Root's side needing another Herculean fourth-innings performance to keep the series alive.

While Stokes failed to fire again, it appeared the great escape could be on when Leach combined with Somerset colleague Craig Overton to push the game into the final hour. Fearing another opportunity was set to go begging, Paine turned to Labuschagne's leg spin. The move paid off as he dismissed Leach, opening the door just wide enough for the excellent Josh Hazlewood to wrap up victory in fading light as the tourists moved 2-1 ahead.

 

A PAINE-FUL DECISION & JOE 90

Perhaps it was the fact the urn was already retained, almost akin to a last-day-of-school situation, that led to captain Paine opting to bowl first after winning the toss. England failed to fully capitalise on the opportunity, posting 294, but Smith only (only!) made 82 as Archer's second six-wicket haul in the series secured a useful first-innings lead.

Following a dash home after day one to see the birth of his daughter, England opener Joe Denly celebrated the new arrival with a Test-best score of 94, helping to set Australia plenty in the final innings on a worn surface.

Broad dismissed David Warner for a seventh time in 10 innings – the opener finished the series with 95 runs (only Hazlewood posted a lower average for the visitors than the left-hander's 9.50) – and when Smith fell into England’s leg-side trap, it was just a matter of when, not if, the hosts would triumph. Matthew Wade went down swinging with a hundred, but the topsy-turvy series ended level.

Captain Tim Paine acknowledged there were "mixed emotions" after Australia retained the Ashes but failed to win the series in England.

Paine's men became the first Australia team to retain the Ashes in England since 2001 after taking a 2-1 lead following the fourth Test at Old Trafford last week.

But the tourists were beaten by 135 runs in the fifth and final match at the Oval on Sunday, leaving the series level at 2-2.

While Australia will take the urn home again, Paine conceded the nature of the last Test was an undeniable frustration.

"There's no doubt today puts a bit of a dampener on it. There are some mixed emotions," he said. "There were some great learnings out of the whole Ashes series for us.

"But from where this group's come from, to come to England and retain the Ashes is still a huge deal.

"We've got a lot to be proud of - there's been some fantastic cricket throughout - but we've got some improvement, some learning to do, which is a great thing for us."

Paine only became skipper after Steve Smith was banned for 12 months due to his role in the ball-tampering scandal last year.

The 34-year-old was not interested in a discussion of his leadership in the immediate aftermath of this week's defeat.

"I wouldn't say [being captain in the Ashes] was an endgame. I didn't see it as a beginning, I didn't see it as an option not that long ago," he said.

"I'm loving the job I have at the moment. I feel there's a little bit of unfinished business with this team and where we're heading, and I've got a little bit of cricket left in this body. But I'm not looking too far down the track."

Paine's captaincy has been criticised at times, with his reviewing often considered particularly poor and his option to bowl first after winning the toss at the Oval costly.

He said: "I've got a couple [of regrets] - probably starting with the toss. But after that, you've got to give credit to England. They outplayed us.

"But we didn't take our chances on day one. I feel a bit sorry for our bowlers - they were fantastic all series and created plenty of chances on day one. We just didn't back them up.

"They got ahead in the game and took it away from us."

Paine admitted: "I can't read a pitch that well. We're trying to get to a point where the toss isn't that important to us. We've got to win games of cricket when you lose the toss.

"Whether you bat or bowl first is irrelevant - we've got to do it better than we did in this Test match."

Joe Root was let off the hook by Peter Siddle and Tim Paine as England made a positive start to the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

Siddle, brought back into Australia's side at the expense of Mitchell Starc, should have dismissed England's captain on 24 but put down a simple catch at deep square leg.

The Yorkshireman's wicket would have been a vital one for Australia, with the visitors having struggled to test Root, who moved to 28 not out, or Rory Burns (42 no) following Joe Denly's dismissal.

Australia captain Paine also dropped his English counterpart, failing to hold onto a diving, one-handed attempt as England made it to lunch on 86-1.

Put into bat by Paine, England's Burns and Denly accumulated 27-0 by the end of the eighth over - the highest opening partnership of the series so far.

Things would have been different if in-form Burns had not successfully reviewed Marais Erasmus' leg before wicket decision in the fourth over, though Denly (14) was dismissed five overs later when he edged Pat Cummins to Steve Smith, who held on at the second attempt.

Root swiftly got about his business, clipping Siddle for two boundaries, while Burns fended off Mitchell Marsh.

Cummins bowled Root for a golden duck at Old Trafford, and the world's number one Test bowler should have had his wicket again.

A short ball drew Root into a poor hook shot, but Siddle failed to hold on in the outfield, and Cummins was frustrated once more in his next over.

Root flashed recklessly outside off stump, only for Paine - moving across David Warner at first slip - to attempt an acrobatic catch which went down as England held firm to survive the session.

Mitchell Starc dropped out of Australia's team for the final Ashes Test, with Tim Paine's visitors making two changes.

Australia arrived at The Oval with the Ashes already secure following their 185-run victory at Old Trafford, which gave them a 2-1 series lead.

Having impressed in tour matches, Starc came into the line-up in Manchester, replacing James Pattinson.

However, the 29-year-old paceman - who scored an unbeaten 54 in the fourth Test and took four wickets - did not made the cut for the match that began in London on Thursday, with Australia selecting Peter Siddle instead.

The other change to Australia's side saw Mitchell Marsh replace Travis Head, a switch Paine had revealed in his pre-match news conference on Wednesday.

Paine won the toss on Thursday, electing to bowl first.

Australia team for final Ashes Test: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (captain, wk), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Mitchell Marsh has been preferred to vice-captain Travis Head in the only change to Australia's squad for the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

All-rounder Marsh will make his first appearance of the series against England as the tourists strive to win the series after going 2-1 up to retain the urn at Old Trafford last weekend.

Batsman Head has made just one half-century in the series and captain Tim Paine says Marsh was selected to ease the bowlers' workload.

"Looking at the conditions and the series being a long and tough one, we've kept the bowling group that was together for the last Test match.

"They've bowled a lot of overs and we feel that bringing Mitchell in will ease a little bit of the workload on them.

"It was a really tough call on Travis Head, who's had a great start to his Test career but we wanted a bit more bowling depth in the squad to cover what looks like a really good wicket and to be able to look after our big, fast bowlers.

"Mitchell Marsh has also had a couple of hundreds in Test cricket so we've got full faith in him doing the job with the bat as well."

Paine added: "The reason Travis isn't playing is because we felt like we needed a little bit of extra bowling at the end of a long series.

"Mitch Marsh is our all-rounder and like we have with our bowlers, it's not necessarily Travis being dropped.

"We've been really clear with Travis on why he's not playing this game. He's had a fantastic start [to his Test career], he's played nine or 10 Tests and has got a very healthy average but we want to get the make up right to win this Test match.

"Unfortunately we had to make a really tough call on someone and it happened to be Travis. He's a huge part of Australian cricket future, he's a gun young player and he's getting better all the time.

"It's disappointing for him he's not playing in this Test match. He'd dearly love to, obviously, but we'll go back to Australia, conditions will be different. There's no doubt he's in the top six or seven batsmen in our country."

England replaced Jason Roy and Craig Overton with Sam Curran and Chris Woakes for the fifth Test, which starts on Thursday.


Australia squad for fifth Ashes Test: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Tim Paine is not planning to bow out as Australia captain in the wake of his side retaining the Ashes.

Australia retained the urn thanks to their 185-run victory in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, handing the visitors an unassailable 2-1 lead.

There is still plenty to play for at The Oval, however, with England needing a victory to avoid a first Ashes series defeat on home soil in 18 years.

Paine's captaincy has come under scrutiny at times throughout the tour, particularly with former skipper Steve Smith - who was replaced by the wicketkeeper following the 2018 ball-tampering scandal - having been in such inspired form.

But having guided Australia through a difficult 18 months, Paine is in no mood to relinquish his leadership duties, even though an Ashes win would ensure his legacy would be firmly intact.

"Not for me, not at the moment," Paine, whose international career was halted by a mixture of injuries and rivals keeping him out of the team, told reporters at The Oval when asked if he might call time on his tenure at the end of the series.

"I'm loving doing what I'm doing, and I think while you've got a job that you love you try and do it for as long as you can.

"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 and feel really good after Test matches physically.

"Mentally, it's a different story but it only takes a day to recover from that. While I keep enjoying it, I'll keep doing it."

The 34-year-old was asked if the end of the ICC Test Championship cycle in the middle of 2021 would be an ideal signing-off point, but Paine insisted he is not planning so far ahead.

"I haven't thought about it to be honest," Paine said.

"I haven't thought much past this Test match, as I've said in the last 18 months, I think it's foolish at my age if you do.

"I'm enjoying what I'm doing and whilst I can continue to contribute in some way, I'll continue to do it.

"I constantly talk to Justin Langer and [selection chair] Trevor Hohns about what might happen or how long I might go on for, but I think we're all comfortable and we're all on the same page."

Captain Tim Paine will take "great confidence" from Australia retaining the Ashes on English soil, according to Justin Langer.

After they were denied by Ben Stokes' heroics at Headingley in the previous match, Australia made sure they will keep hold of the famous urn with a 185-run victory over England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, the result giving them a 2-1 lead with just one match to play.

Paine's relief when the final wicket was confirmed following a review was clear, having come in for some criticism after his team's failure to get over the line in the third Test when the hosts recorded a dramatic one-wicket triumph.

Australia coach Langer has praised the way the skipper has led the team during the tour, particularly as they had not won a series overseas since a 2-0 triumph over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in 2016.

"He's very disciplined - I like that. He is very tough as well," Langer said of the wicketkeeper-batsman. "This has meant a lot to him, from where he's come from.

"The other important thing about Tim as captain is that we have not won overseas for some time. You've got to learn how to win, and that's why this result is so important to us.

"I think the big lesson from the last Test is we all wanted it so much, sometimes we want something so much you just hold on a little bit tight. Hopefully we've learned some lessons over the last week.

"Had this [Old Trafford Test] been another draw, had we not quite got over the line, then that's tough on the team. And for his captaincy, he will take great confidence from this - and so will the team."

The tourists have relied heavily on Steve Smith to hold together a faltering batting line-up during the series, though Langer feels there are mitigating circumstances for some of the rest of the team, considering their lack of experience in the Test arena.

"Steve Smith has done a lot for Australian cricket in the last few years, really. So has David Warner," he said.

"We must remember that Travis Head is new to Test cricket. Marnus Labuschagne is new to Test cricket. Marcus Harris is new to Test cricket. Cameron Bancroft is new to Test cricket. You can't just give them that experience, they've got to earn that.

"We are very thankful to have Steve Smith batting like he is. We are lucky to have him, but Test cricket takes time. We have got to respect that.

"David hasn't had a great series, but imagine how good the team will be when he starts having a great series. Hopefully, he will do that in the next Test.

"The other guys are learning as they go and this is all part of the experience. I said at the start of the series that the team that bats best will win the series, because both teams have got good bowling attacks. Ours is world class and we're really lucky – we're going to have to work on that batting."

Smith has scored 671 runs in five innings against England, cementing his place at the top of the International Cricket Council Test batting rankings.

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