India vs Australia: Paine targets long-term improvement as series loss looms

India vs Australia: Paine targets long-term improvement as series loss looms

SYDNEY: Australia captain Tim Paine insisted Wednesday that his priority was to develop his inexperienced cricket team for the future even as they face the prospect of losing a home series against India for the first time.

Josh Hazlewood struck with his third delivery but India otherwise defied Australia's pacemen early on day one of the fourth Test, reaching 1-69 at lunch.

If Ashwin is ruled out, it would allow left-arm orthodox spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who took five wickets in the MCG test, to retain his place for the series finale with possible backup from part-timer Hanuma Vihari.

Answers to these and more as Cricket Analyst, Mr Ashutosh Paibhale discusses the Sydney Test in detail.

KL Rahul, who was axed for the last Melbourne Test, is back in contention and could open the innings with Mayank Agarwal, with Hanuma Vihari dropping back down to No 6 as cover for Rohit.

Ishant is out after experiencing discomfort in his left rib cage and the team management didn't want to risk him by playing him in the decider.

Indian middle-order's contribution is also one of the biggest factors which makes India favourites to win the series.

This was not about making history, he said, more about proving that a team already ranked number one in the world in tests could do the business on the rock hard wickets of Australia as well as the slow, brown pitches of home.

Australia's Aaron Finch is set to pay the price for his poor form
ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE APAustralia's Aaron Finch is set to pay the price for his poor form

"The physio and the trainer have spoken to him in terms of what's required (from him) in order to get over that injury".

"He's very important for sure".

The SCG Test will be decisive in both teams' captain's captaincy career but it will surely present the real Test match battle which every cricket fan expects at the start of a new year.

"He is very disappointed with the fact that he has not been able to recover in time, but the things have been laid out to him (over) what needs to be done to get back to full fitness".

What followed was a period of lull, that helped Kohli get his eye in, and all that stood compensated towards the end of the session, when Pujara and Kohli feasted on some exhausted bowling from the spinners.

"We know how good a cricketer he is, he's really skilled in all facets of the game", Paine said. There were also several pow-wows within the camp: before the net session began, Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane had a long chat with Sanjay Bangar, the assistant coach and following the session, Kohli was seen in discussion with the support staff.

Ashwin suffered an abdominal strain in the first Test in Adelaide that kept him out of the second and third Tests in Perth and Melbourne respectively.




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