India may miss regular captain Virat Kohli (on paternity leave) and frontline pacer Mohammed Shami (out with a fractured wrist) but Australian captain Tim Paine who still has some dangerous players KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant who can play positively and take the game away from the opposition.
Paine’s comments came on the eve of the Boxing Day Test against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground starting Saturday.
Australia are heading for the second Test in Melbourne full of confidence after hitting visitors to eight wickets in three days last week, leading them to an awkward 36 in the second inning.
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But Paine said it would be a mistake to underestimate India, which would have to make more changes for the second test. Paine said Australia had studied everyone on the Indian team and was ready for anyone to take the field.
The Australian skipper praised KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, both with good chances of playing the 2nd round.
“We know that some of the players they talk about coming to their side, like KL Rahul or Rishabh Pant, are dangerous players who like to play the game and will play positively,” he said.
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Paine said if Australia gives players Pant and Rahul an inch, then they can walk away with a mile. “If we give players like that an inch, it will take a mile, so we have to be on the mark tomorrow like we were in Adelaide and be ready to show up for another five-day battle,” he said.
When asked about the Indian side’s state of mind during the Boxing Day test, Paine said the visitors are a proud cricket country and would try to react strongly.
“We can’t pay any attention to mental fears or whatever we’re talking about,” said Paine of India, who has been wild at home for the Adelaide capitulation.
“I mean, India is a proud country of cricket, they are an extremely talented test match team with many dangerous players.”
Both teams have lived in bio-safe bubbles to ensure the series moves forward in the new world of coronavirus, and Paine admitted that it was easier to do when winning.
This was another incentive for his team to put India to the sword again at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where up to 30,000 fans will be admitted every day – about a third of capacity.
“We’ve been touring overseas in the past when we’ve been knocked out by 50 and it can be really hard, that’s why it’s so important for us to show up tomorrow with the attitude we found in the first test,” he said. .
“We know they won’t tip over, we’ll have to work on our butt to get them into position like we did in Adelaide.
“If we can do it again, tests three and four can become a real battle for them.”
(With AFP inputs)