Skipper Paine backs Warner

Sydney: Australia captain Tim Paine says the tourists will not be intimidated by England fast bowler Jofra Archer and has backed misfiring batsman David Warner to hit form in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

Paine was full of praise for Archer, whose raw pace electrified the drawn second Test as he took five wickets and peppered the Australians with bouncers, leaving Steve Smith with a concussion that has ruled him out of the match in Leeds. But Paine said Australia’s batsmen were used to facing pace and had a few useful speedsters of their own. “It’s fantastic to see a young cricketer with so much talent come onto the scene and it was a bit of a buzz to face him at Lord’s,” Paine wrote in a column for the Australian newspaper.

“He’s fast for sure, but in Australia, we’ve been brought up facing guys of his pace. Every time we have a net (session) we have Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson coming at us like we are the opposition.”

Paine said Smith’s replacement Marnus Labuschagne, who scored 59 when he came on as Test cricket’s inaugural concussion substitute, showed the depth of Australia’s squad. He was unconcerned about Warner’s lack of form, which has seen the left-hander score only 18 runs in four innings. “David Warner hasn’t hit his straps yet and I notice people getting a bit trigger happy on that subject, but I am not worried,” he wrote. “We are 1-0 up in the series and he hasn’t got out of the blocks. He is a match-winner… he is also the most mentally tough cricketer I know. He is due a score and that is a dividend I am looking forward to.”

Meanwhile, former Australia paceman Andy Bichel has labelled England captain Joe Root a ‘blatant cheat’ over a disputed catch on the final day of the second Test. Root took a low catch to end Labuschagne’s innings, with replays suggesting the ball may have bounced first, although the England skipper later insisted it had carried. “It didn’t carry. We can see that,” Bichel told Macquarie Sports Radio. “It’s ricocheted off the player as well so it’s bobbled a little bit to him, so, therefore, he’d know if he’s picked it up on the half volley — it’s blatant cheating.”