India may be missing regular captain Virat Kohli (on paternity leave) and frontline pacer Mohammed Shami (out with a fractured wrist) but Australia captain Tim Paine that still have 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 on Saturday.
Australia head into the second Test in Melbourne full of confidence after thumping the visitors by eight wickets inside three days last week, skittling them for an embarrassing 36 in the second innings.
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But Paine said it would be a mistake to underestimate India, who are slated to make multiple changes for the second Test. Paine said Australia had studied everyone in the Indian squad and they were ready for whoever took the field.
The Australian skipper heaped praise on KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, both of whom have a strong chance of playing the 2nd Test.
“We know that some of the players they’re talking about coming in to their side, like a KL Rahul or Rishabh Pant, are dangerous players who like to take the game on and will play positively,” he said.
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Paine said if Australia give players Pant and Rahul an inch then they can walk away with a mile. “If we give players like that an inch they will take a mile, so we need to be bang on the mark tomorrow as we were in Adelaide and be prepared to turn up for another five day battle,” he said.
When asked about the mental state of the Indian side going into the Boxing Day Test, Paine said the visitors arre a proud cricketing country and would look to fight back strongly.
“We can’t pay any attention to mental scares or whatever anyone is talking about,” Paine said of India, who were savaged at home for their Adelaide capitulation.
“I mean, India is a proud cricket country, they are an extremely talented Test match side with lots of dangerous players.”
Both teams have been living in bio-secure bubbles to ensure the series goes ahead in the new coronavirus world and Paine admitted it was easier to do so when you were winning.
This was another incentive for his team to again put India to the sword at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where up to 30,000 fans will be allowed each day — around one-third capacity.
“We have been on overseas tours before when we have been bowled out for 50 and it can be really difficult, that’s why it’s so important for us to turn up tomorrow with the attitude that we turned up with in the first Test,” he said.
“We know they’re not going to roll over, we’re going to have to work our backsides off to get them in a position like we did in Adelaide.
“If we can do it again, then Tests three and four can become a real battle for them.”
(With AFP inputs)