Paine eyes ‘mouth-watering’ Test series against India

Australia had suffered its first ever Test series loss against India at home in the 2018-19 summer when it missed Steve Smith and David Warner.

Australia skipper Tim Paine said his team is not looking at revenge against India.

Australia skipper Tim Paine said his team is not looking at revenge against India.   -  Getty Images

Its confidence soaring high after five Test wins in a row, Australia skipper Tim Paine says the side can’t wait to host India for a “mouth-watering” series later this year but revenge is certainly not on its minds.

Australia had suffered its first ever Test series loss against India at home in the summer of 2018-19 when it missed prolific batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner, who were serving bans following a ball-tampering scandal that shook world cricket.

Australia has taken long strides since then with young batsmen rising to the occasion, the side's fast bowlers doing much better and Smith-Warner pair getting back to the fold.

As a result, Australia humbled Pakistan in both the Tests inside four days and scored dominant victories over the Kiwis.

A sense of confidence has replaced desperation as Paine spoke of India’s tour which is still a year away.

“If we go to Bangladesh and play well and get some wins over there, then we come back to Australia playing India, and that’s a pretty mouth-watering series for players and for fans,” Paine said.

“It’s hard not to be looking at that, and we’ve got some people at Cricket Australia already looking ahead to that series. But for the main playing group our next goal is Bangladesh, and we certainly can’t take that lightly.”

READ: Nothing tougher than playing India in India: Labuschagne

Australia’s struggle against India in the last summer reflected in its batting as the highest individual score was opener Marcus Harris’ 79 in the final Test in Sydney but this season the side had a triple-century (Warner), a double-century (Marnus Labuschagne) and at least one individual hundred in every Test.

Paine said his team is not looking at revenge but something bigger is at stake.

“I certainly won’t be looking at it as revenge. We’re certainly a different side from what they played against here last year, and there’s more at stake — there’s World Test Championship points at stake.

ALSO READ: Tendulkar: Four-day Tests would be disadvantageous to spinners

“Both of the two teams, Australia and India, are eyeing off that final so every point is going to be critical. If we can continue our upward trend that we’ve shown in the last 12 months, then you’re potentially looking at the top couple of teams that are in the top two or three, in the world. It’s going to be an awesome series.”

Paine acknowledged that India is no more a side which heavily relies on its spinners, rather its pacers are now as good as that of Australia's and the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ishant Sharma will be followed keenly.

“They showed last year they’ve got a pace battery that’s going to be every bit as good as ours so it’s going to be one to watch.”

From a philosophical angle, Paine said losing the star batsmen Smith and Warner helped Australia unearth new talent.

The rise of Marcus Labuschagne is a testimony to that.

“We spoke a lot last year about there being a silver lining from what’s happened (in South Africa). The guys who got opportunities to play Test cricket last year who probably wouldn’t have (otherwise). One of them is the man of the series (Labuschagne) and Travis Head is still averaging 45 or more in Test cricket."

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :