SCG inspection to decide Australia side – Paine

Australia opted against finalising its XI for the final Test against India in Sydney, starting Thursday.

Australia captain Tim Paine   -  Getty Images

Australian captain Tim Paine said his focus in the series had been to play the best cricket his team could, stay competitive at all times and learn quickly.

Paine added, “We want to win every Test we play, at times it's not always possible. We're playing against the best Test team in the world at the moment.”

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Even as Australia faces the prospect of losing a Test series on home soil for the first time against India, Paine said, “I haven't thought too much about losing the series, that's for sure. We know if we can keep India in the fight long enough, as we showed in Perth, we can win.”

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Converting starts

The selection of the Australian team has come under criticism and Paine said, “We want to pick the best eleven but at the same time we want to ensure that we have the right kind of guys in the team who can take the side forward and perform across series and conditions.”

Paine wanted the batting group to convert starts into big scores. “Obviously, there has been a lot of talk around that.”

On leg-spinning all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne, who has been included in the Test squad, Paine said, "We know how good a cricketer he is, he's really skilled in all facets of the game. His leg spin has improved out of sight.”

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Pant a good sport

Meanwhile Paine’s banter with Rishabh Pant - the Indian wicket-keeper batsman called Paine “a temporary captain” and the Australian skipper asked the Indian whether he could “Babysit” while he took his wife for movies during the MCG Test - that culminated with a smiling Pant holding Paine’s four-month-old son Charlie when both the teams visited Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s house on New Year's Day, has been making news.

Paine said, “That was interesting.  We were obviously at the PM's house and just had a quick chat with Rishabh and my wife actually happened to be there, so we just grabbed a quick photo. He was a good sport, and he is on the field as well, to be honest.

"A fair bit has been made of a little bit of banter between two wicket-keepers, which has been pretty light-hearted and friendly. So yeah I enjoy the way he goes about it.”