Aus Captain Paine Disappointed With Pitches During Tests vs India

Australia captain Tim Paine said he was frustrated by some of the pitches provided for the Test series.

4 min read

Australia captain Tim Paine has said he was frustrated by some of the pitches that have been provided for the Test cricket series against India.

India leads the four-match series 2-1 after beating Australia by 137 runs in the third Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday, 30 December.

The Melbourne pitch offered little pace and bounce for Australia's fast bowlers, who toiled for almost two days as India scored 443-7 declared in its first innings. Australia was bowled out for 151 as India claimed a 292-run advantage on the first innings.

Paine said Australia's strength was its pace bowling.

“That’s been the one disappointing thing. It seems we’ve rolled up some wickets here in Australia that have taken away from our strengths, which is pace and bounce. You’d like the slips to come into play eventually.”
Tim Paine

Both sides are considering playing two spinners in the Sydney test beginning 3 January on a surface that is expected to take turn. India's pitches are famous for being spin-friendly.

"It's a frustration," Paine said. "I think the Sydney wicket, from what we're hearing, might spin a little bit. I'm sure India will be looking forward to it.

"You never go to India and get served up green wickets. And they've come out here and we've served some wickets up that have really suited them. Having said that they've outplayed us and we've got to go to Sydney and improve."

'Inexperience’, ‘Pressure’: Paine Justifies Loss

Skipper Paine did admit that his batsmen failed to cope with the high quality opposition bowling attack in the absence of banned Steve Smith and David Warner.

Paine sought to explain the defeat to the team's inexperience in the absence of Smith and Warner who were banned, along with Cameron Bancroft, for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test earlier this year. Bancroft's ban period ended on Saturday while Smith and Warner will have to wait till March end.

“It is inexperience. It is pressure. India’s bowling attack being probably as good as probably most of these guys have ever faced. It is pretty clear, if you take 2 or 3 of the best players out of anyone’s lineup in the world, you’re going to struggle a little bit at times and have inconsistent performances. That’s what we are seeing.”
Tim Paine

"In Perth, on a really tough wicket, our top six dug in and had a real crack. In this game, no doubt we were a little bit disappointing. That's going to happen from time to time. We have to make sure we're improving and our good and our bad is a little bit closer together than what it has been in the last couple of Tests. But I think it's pretty common when you've got inexperienced players in your top six against high quality bowling."

Paine said India had two world-class batsmen in Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli who anchored the innings to a 400-plus score, while Australia were missing Smith and Warner.

“If you took Pujara and Virat out of India’s side I think you would have the same conversation. If you have got world-class players that are not in your team, are they going to add to our team? I think they will. So while at the moment it’s challenging and everyone’s frustrated, it is what it is and everyone is working hard and we’re getting guys who are getting experience of high-pressure situations in Test cricket and learning on the job.”
Tim Paine

"At times you're going to get inconsistency from guys that are in that situation. The silver lining is that we have got world-class players that are available soon to come back into this side and clearly when they do it will make a huge difference," he added.

‘India’s Pace Attack Incredibly Disciplined’

The Australia skipper was candid enough to acknowledge the top-class show by the Indian bowling attack.

"Their pace bowling in particular has been incredibly disciplined and has worn guys down. That is a factor why we are having a lot of starts, because they are just bowling really well and making it really hard to score. They grind you down and force you to make a mistake.

"There's a little bit from our side, but you've also got to give them a huge amount of credit for the way they've been bowling as a group in this series and probably the last 12 months," Paine said.

Paine lamented Australia lost a chance to restrict India in the first innings and allowed them to declare on 443 for 7, and his side were always chasing the game thereafter.

"India batted superbly in the 1st innings, from that moment we were behind the game. We knew the wicket was going to deteriorate and it was going to be hard work against their disciplined attack. We'd like to get to Sydney, win the toss and have the same thing reversed," said Paine.

(With inputs from PTI and AP)

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