India vs Australia: Smith, Green likely to feature in Adelaide Test, hints Paine

Australian skipper Tim Paine discusses strategy, plans for Virat Kohli and why Steve Smith's sore back might not be too concerning ahead of the Adelaide Test.

Virat Kohli takes up a big part of Tim Paine's strategy efforts ahead of the Adelaide Test. The Aussie skipper is happy to have as many options as he currently does to counter the Indian batting arsenal.   -  Getty Images

Australia has plans in place for Virat Kohli. And red-ball captain Tim Paine made no bones about it ahead of the first day-night Test match of the Border-Gavaskar series in Adelaide on Thursday.

“Everyone has got plans to get him out, don't they? Virat is certainly one of the best players... if not the best in the world. He knows how to adapt and there is going to be a time when - I hope it doesn't happen- you play against players as good as him, they tend to get away from you but that's just the game,” Paine said.

The Indian skipper is coming on the back of a quality show in the limited-overs leg of the tour Down Under, having scored three half-centuries off six matches. However, in the only two Test matches he had played earlier this year against New Zealand, Kohli couldn’t get past the 20-run mark in an innings. He will want to come good when he dons the whites one last time in 2020 before heading back home for the birth of his first child.

READ: Langer hails ‘great’ India-Australia rivalry ahead of Adelaide Test

Paine, however, is confident of getting the better of his India counterpart thanks to a number of options available at hand including that of off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who has claimed the prized scalp of the right-hander on a record seven occasions in Tests.

“We certainly have plans in place, which have worked okay against him in the past. We hope they work early enough this week, but if they do not, we have other plans. The great thing about our attack that we have got different options to throw at him with Lyon, Marnus [Labuschagne] and [Cameron] Green,” Paine, who was unwilling to reveal the final eleven until the toss, added.


After having warmed up for 10 minutes with his teammates by doing a few stretching exercises and running drills at the Adelaide Oval, Smith skipped the routine football session and headed straight to the dressing room in some discomfort after tweaking his back while bending down to pick up a ball.   -  Getty Images


Smith to score runs like always’

Batting mainstay Steve Smith, on Tuesday, left the training session, visibly in discomfort, having hurt his back while fielding, but Paine is confident there is nothing much to worry about.

“Steve's had a stiff back a number of times before and that happens when you train as much as he does. His preparation has been good and he has batted continuously for four days straight. So, I think him having a day off might actually be a blessing in disguise. It was a bit more precautionary. Obviously, he's keen to train today but come tomorrow, even if he's a bit sore, he would get up and get through it and find ways to score runs like he always does,” said the 36-year-old.

Green good to go

Paine also provided an update on all-rounder Green, who had taken a blow to his temple while playing a three-day Tour match against the Indians at the Sydney Cricket Ground last Friday. He said, “I think, he is pretty good to go. He obviously trained with us very well yesterday. He pulled up again this morning to train today. All things going well, he will make his Test debut tomorrow, which is great news for him, great news for us, great news for Australian cricket fans.”

READ: Australia has an edge in pink-ball Test against India: Kapil Dev  

No plans to be aggressive

Australia-India matches have been characteristically high-octane. However, the ODIs and T20Is have only belied the intense rivalry, with a number of friendly gestures on the field. Although pacer Pat Cummins had earlier hinted that things could get “fiery” during the Tests, Paine said, “In terms of what goes on in the field, we'll have to wait and see. You certainly don't go out there planning to have run-ins or be overly aggressive. We just go out, try and execute our plans first with our skills with bat and ball.”

Rahane, Pujara big focus

On being asked whether the side has come up with a plan to tackle Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored 521 runs and faced 1,258 deliveries during the 2018-19 tour, Paine said, “We know the talent they have got all the way down in the list. Pujara troubled us a lot last year, so he's a big key to us. But we saw Rishabh [Pant] come in last week and put up a really quick hundred in the ‘A’ game, so they've got guys who can take a Test match away from you really quickly. [Ajinkya] Rahane had been a glue in the last series and held the team together so, he's a big focus.”


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