Australia skipper Tim Paine declared himself fit and ready to go for the second test against India on Thursday, with the hosts naming an unchanged side for the Perth Stadium clash. Paine suffered a finger injury in the series-opening loss to India in Adelaide, but the 34-year-old wicket-keeper confirmed he would line up in an unchanged batting order when the match starts on Friday.
“Yeah, no I’m fine. I’ve got a few niggles everywhere but I’m not alone there, I don’t think, at my age. Finger is fine,” Paine told a news conference.
Paceman Mitchell Starc retains his place in the side despite what was perceived to be a sub-par performance in Adelaide, and will be looking for a strong performance in conditions which are expected to favour his skills at the new Perth Stadium.
“Starc’s been good for us. I thought the criticism he got this week’s been pretty unfair to be honest. Barring two or three overs where he got his radar wrong, I think he’s bowled pretty well. We know his best is the best so we’re pretty pumped to have him in our team,” Paine said of the left-arm quick, who took five for 103 in the first test.
Aaron Finch also keeps his place at the top of the order despite mustering only 11 runs in his two innings in the first of four tests in the series.
“He just needs that one big score at test level to give him that confidence he has at international level in T20s and ODIs,” Paine added.
Australia, still without Steve Smith and David Warner after they were banned for their part in March’s ball-tampering scandal, have never lost a test series at home to India.
Australia team: Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Tim Paine (captain),Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.