Australia retain Starc, Finch for vital second Test


Australia will not make any changes to their starting XI for the second Test against India, starting in Perth on Friday, captain Tim Paine has confirmed.

There had been speculation that opening batsman Aaron Finch and fast bowler Mitchell Starc could lose their places after a 31-run defeat in the first Test in Adelaide but the hosts has resisted the temptation to make any alterations.

Left-arm quick Starc had come under-fire after a few wayward spells in Adelaide but Paine is confident his pacman will step up as the hosts look to level the four-match series.

Paine: ‘No better bowler in the world’ when Starc is on song

Paine said of his fast bowler: “The criticism he has come under this week has been pretty unfair to be honest.

“I think barring two or three overs in Adelaide where he got his radar a little bit wrong, I thought he bowled really well.

“I think his best and his worst are getting closer together. I think we’re getting really close to his best and the conditions here are going to suit him down to the ground.”

Finch scored 0 and 11 alongside rookie opener Marcus Harris in Adelaide but has come in for criticism for the manner of his dismissals.

The 32-year-old, who is Australia’s ODI and T20I captain, went out to erratic attacking strokes in the first Test when a more circumspect approach was needed.

Paine defended the right-handed batsman, saying: “We encourage all our players to back their strengths and Finchy has been successful at international cricket.

“He’s like no other player and he just needs that one score to, I suppose, just get that little bit more self-belief that we know he’s got at international one-day and T20 cricket.

“You’re not going to succeed at international cricket unless you stick to your strengths and Finchy knows the best way he goes about his batting and he’ll make sure he keeps trying to do that and if he does he’ll come good for us.”