Paine: Aussies must avoid repeat of Ashes fadeout
LESSONS learned from a last Test fadeout in England will ensure Australia keeps its foot on the New Zealand throats when the series heads to the SCG and a 3-0 whitewash is up for grabs.
Australian captain Tim Paine was revelling in an all-round effort from his side which he labelled "outstanding" as man of the match Travis Head and returning fast bowler James Pattinson stepped up to help deliver a Boxing Day test knockout.
The emphatic 247-run win, inside four days, delivered Paine his ninth victory as captain and a fourth-straight win for the home summer which solidified Australia's position in second spot on the Test Championship ladder.
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With memories fresh of the last Test loss at The Oval in September, having already retained the Ashes in Manchester, Paine said he would be driving home the message to his men how important the final clash with the Kiwis remained.
"We know we have wrapped up the series here today which is pleasing, but as I have said many times now with the Test match championship, every Test match is really important. Winning the series is almost less important," Paine said.
"We probably have to learn a little bit from what happened in the Ashes. I thought when we won the fourth Test it was such an emotional high, we looked after ourselves in a celebration sense … but I think the emotional high of winning that Test then a fast turnaround, guys were just a bit flat mentality and a bit drained.
"We'll try and keep it level the next few days, have a few days off, rest up and hit that fifth Test of the summer with as much energy as we it the first Test at the Gabba."
Paine, who now has a 50 per cent win/loss record as captain for the first time since taking over midway through 2018, also declared he would keep the pressure on out-of-sorts Kiwi captain Kane Williamson who flopped twice with the bat in Melbourne.
Williamson has a top score of just 34 in four innings this series and questions are being asked about his workload as skipper of New Zealand in all three forms of the game.
"We're making them bowl a lot of overs, we're making him make a lot of decisions in the field and that's what we want to do," Paine said.
"We want to wear opposition players down, particularly their captain so the more pressure we can keep putting on him the better off we are going to be."
Paine dismissed any injury concerns over his side before the third Test starts next Friday, including Mitchell Starc who looked to have hurt his knee while fielding.
Potential issues with the smoke haze currently clouding Sydney were also put to one side by Paine.
Cricket Australia has conceded smoke from the bushfires ravaging NSW could cause delays to the game after a Big Bash match in Canberra was abandoned when players had breathing difficulties.
"We're just playing a game of cricket, so if we have to come off the field then so be it," Paine said.
"Our thoughts are certainly with the people who are really affected and those fighting the fires."