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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 April 2019

Tim Paine calls on Australia to 'tighten up' against India in Perth Test

Host captain also backs pace bowler Mitchell Starc to respond positively to criticism he received in Adelaide

Tim Paine speaks to the media ahead of Australia's second Test match against India in Perth. EPA
Tim Paine speaks to the media ahead of Australia's second Test match against India in Perth. EPA

Australia captain Tim Paine said there was little time to regroup after the first Test defeat to India, but said he had no doubt under-pressure fast bowler Mitchell Starc would bounce back in Perth.

The second Test starts on Friday with India full of confidence after their tense, 31-run win in Adelaide - their first in Australia in a decade, and first ever in the opening Test as they search for a maiden series win down under.

Paine admitted there were shortcomings in Adelaide, but he was largely happy with how the team performed.

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"There was a number of reasons why we lost," he said. "We thought we could have cleaned them up on Day 1 for 200-210 and we let that slip a bit. Clearly we'd like to score more than 230 in a first innings in Australia. There's things we do need to tighten up."

Starc received some criticism for some wayward spells, including a string of costly byes, in India's second innings, but Paine said the left-arm paceman would come good.

"He didn't set the world on fire but I think, for a long time, there's been a really big gap between Starcy's best and his worst," said Paine. "And from what I'm seeing, that is getting closer and closer every day. Was he at his best? Probably not. But I still thought he played his role."

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One key area of concern is opening batsmen. Debutant Marcus Harris scored 26 in each innings and showed enough to warrant another crack, but one-day specialist Aaron Finch failed both times, out for 0 and then 11.

Paine acknowledged the top order must start delivering, but indicated they are likely to stick with the same line-up although there could be further discussions with coach Justin Langer before Friday's team is named.

"Justin's the coach and he's got a fair say," Paine said. "So I imagine if he wants to talk about it, it will be on the agenda when we get to Perth."

Paine himself is a slight doubt after being on the right finger by a Mohammed Shami delivery - the same finger that has required several operations in the past.

Updated: December 11, 2018 10:31 AM

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