Sydney: Australia have developed a ruthless streak in their home series sweeps against Pakistan and New Zealand and will present much stiffer opposition when India tour next year, captain Tim Paine said on Monday.
Paine’s side wrapped up a 3-0 series triumph over the Black Caps by romping to 279-run victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground to make it five comprehensive wins out of five matches for the home summer.
“I came into this summer expecting to win all five Tests,” Paine told reporters.
“I think now we’ve got a team together that is really consistent, we’ve got a number of match-winners with both bat and ball and our lesser players have improved a hell of a lot over the last 12 months.
“We’ve probably become more ruthless which was something we wanted to be ... We’ve got great quality throughout our side and it’s a very exciting team to be part of.”
Next up for Australia in Test cricket is a tour of Bangladesh in June and July followed by what Paine described as a “mouthwatering” series at home to Virat Kohli’s India.
India last visited in the 2018-19 season and, with Steve Smith and David Warner suspended after the ball-tampering scandal, earned their first series triumph on Australia soil.
“We’re certainly a different side than what they played against last year,” Paine added.
“There’s (also) Test championship points at stake and I think both India and Australia are eyeing off that final so every point is going to be critical.
“If we can continue our upward trend, you’re potentially talking about the top two teams in the world so it’s going to be an awesome series.” The victory over New Zealand brought Australia (296) closer to India (360) at the top of the World Test Championship table with the two nations occupying the positions which will earn places in the final at Lord’s in 2021.
Paine said the way Australia approached the key moments in matches had changed since India last toured, resulting in the clinical displays against Pakistan and New Zealand.
“Every team wants to be ruthless,” he said.
“(But) I think there were probably periods in the Test series against India we should have capitalised on, but through wanting it too much, or trying too hard, or putting too much pressure on ourselves, we let it slip,” Paine added.
“When those big moments come now, we just focus on executing our roles.”
Marnus Labuschagne, who emerged as the leading run-getter in the three-match rubber, said: “It’s been an amazing summer. We have been playing really well as a team and it is good to see everything come together. The way I hit the ball and the way the batting group has performed has been tremendous,” the 25-year-old expressed.
“It’s hard to put a finger on something, but just the level of concentration and probably not doing as many silly things was good. It was nice to have some luck as well,” he added.
“It will be great to play in India if I get the opportunity. It is nice to travel with this group and I am just taking it as it comes,” he concluded.
Australia (1st innings) 454
New Zealand (1st innings) 256
Australia 2nd innings (overnight 40-0)
D. Warner not out 111
J. Burns lbw b Astle 40
M. Labuschagne c Latham b Henry 59
Extras: (b3, lb3, w1) 7
Total: (2 wkts declared; 52 overs) 217
Fall of wickets: 1-107, 2-217
Bowling: Henry 12-2-54-1, de Grandhomme 13-1-43-0, Wagner 9-1-37-0, Somerville 10-0-36-0, Astle 8-1-41-1
New Zealand (2nd innings)
T. Latham lbw b Starc 1
T. Blundell c Lyon b Starc 2
J. Raval c Paine b Lyon 12
R. Taylor b Cummins 22
G. Phillips c Paine b Lyon 0
B.J. Watling c Cummins b Lyon 19
C. de Grandhomme c Burns b Lyon 52
T. Astle c Pattinson b Lyon 17
W. Somerville b Starc 7
N. Wagner not out 0
M. Henry did not bat (injured)
Extras: (b3, lb1) 4
Total: (9 wkts; 47.5 overs) 136
Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Blundell), 2-4 (Latham), 3-22 (Raval), 4-22 (Phillips), 5-38 (Taylor), 6-107 (de Grandhomme), 7-128 (Astle), 8-136 (Somerville), 9-136 (Watling)
Bowling: Starc 9-3-25-3, Cummins 11-3-29-1, Pattinson 6-3-8-0, Lyon 16.5-4-50-5, Labuschagne 5-0-20-0.
Australia won by 279 runs
Australia win series 3-0
Man of the Match: Marnus Labuschagne (AUS)