Tim Paine has backed Aaron Finch and Mitchell Starc, who came under some scrutiny after the Adelaide defeat, for the second India Test in Perth while naming an unchanged XI for the contest.
Finch, who managed 0 and 11 in the 31-run defeat, made his Test debut only recently during the two-match series against Pakistan in the UAE and has played only three games. However, with a top score of 41 in his last 10 international outings, questions have been raised on his place in the side.
Paine, however, brushed the speculation aside. “We encourage all our players to back their strengths,” he said.
"We certainly get more excited than nervous looking at lively pitches now. We saw the pitch and we were happy to see the grass on it."https://t.co/SqESVGkAYd
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 13, 2018
“Finchy has been successful at international cricket and he played really well in the UAE, and he just needs that one score to get that little bit more self belief at Test level.
“He knows the best way to go about his batting and I’ll make sure he keeps trying to do that and if he does he will come good for us.”
Also under the microscope after the Adelaide defeat was Mitchell Starc, who despite having picked up five wickets in the match didn’t produce his best rhythm according to former Australia bowlers Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
"I’m really fascinated and can’t wait to see what the Optus wicket brings."https://t.co/znQ0EDg04y
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 11, 2018
But Paine said Starc’s place in the team was “never under doubt … He has been good for us and the criticism he has faced this week has been pretty unfair to be honest.
“Apart from two or three overs in Adelaide where he got his radar a bit wrong, I thought he bowled really well. His best and his worst are getting closer together and he is getting really close to his best again.
“The conditions are going to suit him down to the ground and one thing I know about Starc is when he cops a bit of criticism he bounces back hard.”
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 10, 2018
With these questions put to bed, Paine also named an unchanged XI for the Perth Test and backed his bowlers to come out on top against India captain and ace batsman Virat Kohli.
“Whether he gets runs or doesn’t get runs, we were happy with the way we bowled to him in Adelaide,” Paine said on Kohli.
“In the first innings, he didn’t get in and Uz (Usman Khawaja) took a great catch, but in the second innings we were pleased that we made him face over 100 balls to score 30 runs, and I don’t think he does that a lot.
“And out of those 30 runs I think six or seven came off Travis Head, who bowled a few overs. That’s something we want to continue to do. We know at some stage he is going to score runs but we want to make him work really hard for every run he scores.”