|Men’s Ashes: Third Specsavers Test, Headingley (day four of five)|
|Australia 179 (Labuschagne 74, Archer 6-45)(Labuschagne 80)|
|England 67 (Hazlewood 5-30) (Stokes 135*, Root 77, Hazlewood 4-85)|
|England won by one wicket|
Stokes hit an astonishing 135 not out as England overhauled a target of 359 – their highest fourth-innings chase – to level the series at 1-1.
The hosts needed 73 when Stokes was joined by number 11 Jack Leach, who made one not out in a thrilling stand.
“A guy played out of his skin to take a Test match away,” Paine said.
“That can happen, that’s OK. It’s got to sting but we have to trust our process. We were very close.”
- Stokes century leads England to epic one-wicket win
- ‘An amazing feeling’ – Stokes savours match-winning century
- TMS podcast: Stunning Stokes serves up another Ashes classic at Headingley
An Australia win, which seemed almost certain when they bowled England out for 67 on day two, would have seen them retain the Ashes in England for the first time since 2001.
However, they will secure the urn with victory in either of the two remaining matches at Old Trafford and The Oval.
“To have something like that so close is hard to swallow right now, but it is not going to help us going into Manchester to hold on to it,” Paine said.
“We are on the right track and we have two more chances to win the Ashes.”
Stokes’ 219-ball innings, which came six weeks after his remarkable unbeaten 84 in the World Cup final, included 11 fours and eight sixes.
However, he was dropped on 34 by David Warner at slip and put down by a diving Marcus Harris at third man when he had made 116 and England needed 17 for victory.
With two runs required, Leach would have been run out had bowler Nathan Lyon not fumbled the ball.
Paine denied his side were rattled by Stokes’ batting and a raucous atmosphere in Leeds.
“No doubt there was pressure. It was close, tight, the crowd was loud, that was as hard as it gets for a touring side,” Paine said.
“Sometimes people make mistakes and we made a couple today.
“In the end it cost us the Test match. That and an unbelievable innings.”
Stokes survived an lbw shout immediately after Lyon’s run-out chance which would have been overturned if Australia had not wasted both their reviews.
Paine said he has “no issue” with umpire Joel Wilson’s decision.
“We can’t control that,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve got a referral correct the whole series so I can’t sit here and bag the umpires.
“We have got to focus on what we can control and umpiring decisions isn’t one of them.”