I have 'unfinished business' as Test captain, declares Tim Paine after Oval defeat
Tim Paine says he has "unfinished business" as Australia's Test captain after defeat at The Oval allowed England to draw the Ashes series, and that he has "a little bit of cricket left" in his body.
Despite Matthew Wade's counter-attacking innings of 117 - which Paine surprisingly described as "one of the great Ashes hundreds" - Australia fell to a 135-run defeat after failing to chase 399 in their fourth innings, and their celebrations were notably muted.
While they celebrated as usual with champagne when the urn was presented, Justin Langer looked on with a scowl, and Paine admitted that defeat had put "a bit of a dampener" on their achievements in the series.
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"There's some mixed emotions," Paine told Sky. "But I think from where this group has come from, to come to England and retain the Ashes is still a huge deal. It hasn't been done for 20 years, so we've got a lot to be proud of.
"I think we've got some improvement, some learning to do, and that's a great thing for us."
About his own future, Paine denied that there was a feeling that retaining the urn represented an "endgame" for him.
"I didn't see it as a beginning, or see it as an option all that long ago. As I said before this Test match, I'm loving the job I've got at the moment. I feel like there's a little bit of unfinished business with this team and where we're heading.
"I feel like I've got a little bit of cricket left in this old body, but I'm not looking too far down the track to when exactly that is."
Paine said that he had "a couple" of regrets about the Oval Test, but conceded that England had "outplayed" his side over the course of the four days.
Paine became only the second Australian captain to lose an Ashes Test in England after winning the toss and choosing to bowl, after Ricky Ponting did so at Edgbaston in 2005, and joked that he is "always 50:50" before the toss.
"I can't read a pitch that well," he said. "We're trying to get to the stage where the toss isn't that important to us. You've got to win games of cricket when you lose a toss, and whether you bat or bowl first is a bit irrelevant."
The stats do not particularly back Paine's claims up. Since 1997, Australia have lost the toss 16 times in Tests in England, and won only three of those games, drawing three more and losing ten; out of the 20 games in which they have won the toss, they have won ten, drawn five and lost five.
Paine also bemoaned Australia's inability to take their chances on the first day.
"I feel a bit sorry for our bowlers," he said. "They were fantastic all series, created plenty of chances on day one and we just didn't back them up. England got ahead of the game, and then they took it away from us."