Tim Paine is adamant Australia will quickly draw a line under their stunning defeat to a Ben Stokes-inspired England as he quickly shifted his focus towards next week’s fourth Ashes Test.
Australia were on the brink of moving into an unassailable 2-0 series lead to retain the urn after reducing England to 286 for nine in pursuit of a record fourth-innings chase of 359 at Headingley.
Yet Stokes produced one of the great Test innings of 135 not out to get England home, sharing a scarcely credible 76-run unbroken partnership with last man Jack Leach (one not out) in a breathtaking climax in front of a raucous crowd.
There is an argument to be made that such a setback is a serious psychological blow which could have ramifications for the remainder of the series but Australia captain Paine is confident they will not dwell on what happened.
He said: “It was close, tight and the crowd was loud… that was as hard as it gets for a touring side. Sometimes people make mistakes and we made a couple. In the end it cost us a Test match, that and an unbelievable innings.
“We’ve got time now to make sure we stick together and bounce back. If we get caught up in the emotion of it all and get too down on things then the series can be taken away from you really quickly.
“The facts are that we’ve been in a position to win every Test match that we’ve played in so we’re doing something right, we’ve got to keep believing in that.
“If we can continue to execute on skill and not get caught up in the emotion, we think the next two Tests will be the same, we’ll be in a position to win them. We’re not going to be sulking about it for long.”
Nathan Lyon crumpled to the turf after Stokes confirmed England’s victory, the off-spinner having moments earlier fumbled with the ball as he missed the chance to run out Leach at the non-striker’s end with two still required.
Lyon was then denied his redemption by Australia earlier burning their reviews after a huge lbw appeal against Stokes was turned down, with replays showing the ball would have clattered into middle and leg.
Lyon had started the day by moving up to third in Australia’s all-time leading Test wicket-takers’ list but ended it being helped to his feet by his skipper, who is convinced the 31-year-old will bounce back at Old Trafford.
Paine added: “He’s a really important player in our side and I said to him that if our players see him dealing with it really quickly and moving on then our younger players are going to do the same thing.
“We then turn up to Manchester or our next training session in a much better frame of mind rather than have guys sulking or whatever you want to call it. It hurts, deal with it, move on.”