PERTH, DEC 13: It will be a good toss to lose, said Australian captain Tim Paine on eve of the second Test against India, considering the grassy nature of the pitch and extreme hot weather.
"Yeah it will be I reckon (good toss to lose). Actually, I spoke to the curator about it this morning. I really don't think the pitch will play that badly. For the ODI and T20 here, both those wickets looked really green for white-ball cricket but it played really well," said Paine ahead of the inaugural Test at the Optus Stadium.
"With the heat it will probably break up and you will see cracks in the game. It is what it is and whatever you are doing tomorrow morning you need to start really well."
While India made a couple key changes to their eleven owing to injuries, Australia have named an unchanged side for this second Test. Paine acknowledged that India could field an all-pace attack and added that Australia have done their home work.
He expects India to come hard at the hosts and achieve something special in Perth. The visitors won the first Test by 31 runs and are raring to go on a green-top to push for a 2-0 scoreline.
"They have new guys coming in. We have spoken about it, but we have concentrated over their whole squad over the last few weeks so we know their strengths and weaknesses. Again it is about putting it together on the field, and whatever eleven they put on the park, they will come hard they are prepared well and they have a sniff of something special (2-0). So we will have to be right on our game from ball one," he said.
Along with an unchanged side, Australia will also field an unchanged batting line-up with Aaron Finch once again set to open. The skipper said that his players needed to back their strengths if they are to make a comeback in this series, and backed Mitchell Starc to come up against all the criticism since the first Test.
"We encourage all our players to back their strengths. Finch has been successful doing that in international cricket. He might not have played well in UAE but he is just one score away like anyone else to get more self-belief at the Test level that he already has at T20 or ODI level. Finch is no different than any other player and you are not going to succeed unless you back your strengths.
"There was no doubt about Mitchell Starc not playing. Criticism has been pretty unfair. After Adelaide, barring 2-3 overs where his radar went wrong, he bowled pretty well. He is getting close to his best again and swung the ball in Adelaide, which he didn't do in UAE.
"He will do it in Perth with conditions out there and one thing I know about him when he cops a bit of criticism he takes it a bit personally. So he will go out there pumped and we know what he can produce. We have no doubt that he is the best and we are proud to have him in our team," he added.
When asked about keeping Virat Kohli quiet again, after his twin low scores in Adelaide, Paine said, "Whether he gets runs or he doesn't get runs, we were happy with how we bowled to him in Adelaide. Obviously in the first innings, he didn't get in and Usman Khawaja took a great catch. In the second innings, we were really pleased that we made him face over a hundred balls to score 30 runs and I don't think he does that a hell of a lot.
"And even of those 30-odd runs, I think 6-7 came when we threw the ball to Travis Head for a few overs. So we made him face a 105-110 balls for 20-odd, and that's something that we want to continue to do. We know that at some stage, he is going to score runs. He is the best player in the world. We respect that but we want to make him work really hard for every run."
Ishant Sharma's no balls have become a talking point ahead of the second Test with the umpires coming in for sharper scrutiny for this match. DRS is also up for debate with doubts creeping in for marginal calls as well as judging bounce across five days of cricket.
"It's not something that we can control, so having said that I am glad that it has been brought up and it has certainly been spoken about. I don't think it is a great look for the game when things like that are happening. After Adelaide, you can suggest that it could get better, no doubt.
"I was probably a little bit emotional and a little bit upset that a couple of things didn't go our way (DRS calls in Adelaide). But I certainly understand how it works and I understand the technology. I think it was more probably a little bit of frustration coming through that we got a few wrong and a couple might be hitting the stumps. Like I said, it is what it is. I don't have a huge problem with it. Can it get better? Yeah. Do I have the answer? No."
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