Steve Smith
Steve Smith and Australia captain Tim Paine Image Credit: AFP

Adelaide; Australia skipper Tim Paine expects Steve Smith to be fit for the first Test of the four-match series against India that begins Thursday, adding that the Aussie batting mainstay’s absence from the nets on Wednesday due to stiff back could be a blessing in disguise.

“Obviously Dave (David Warner) won’t be there but we expect Steve to be there,” said Paine while speaking to reporters on the eve of the pink-ball Test to be played at the Adelaide Oval. “Steve has obviously had a stiff back a number of times before and you do when you bat at training as much as Steve does but look, his preparation has been very good since he has batted for the last week in Adelaide. So having him a day off would be a blessing in disguise.

“He wanted to bat yesterday but look he has played all the one-dayers, he has been batting. Once we got to Adelaide he literally batted for four days straight. His preparation has been very good, he has been batting in the middle under lights, as I said we expect him to play. He has had stiff back before. Yesterday (rest) it was more precautionary. He is in to train today but obviously we will see how he goes today. Whether he is stiff or sore, he gets up and gets through it and scores some runs like he always does.”

The skipper also said that despite Warner’s absence, the team would not be dissimilar to what it looked in 2019-20 when Australia won all five Tests they played at home.

“When we take the field tomorrow, we would have loved to have Dave there but our team won’t be dissimilar to what it looked last summer. We had a consistent team for a certain period of time and that helps us perform well.”