Justin LangerPerth: Australia coach Justin Langer said on Wednesday he expected a pacey wicket at the new Perth Stadium for the second Test against India and declared “pretty boy” captain Tim Paine “ready to go” despite injury.
Australia are looking to avenge a 31-run defeat in Adelaide to level the four-Test series but Langer admitted there was some uncertainty over the surface in Perth.
The Test will be the first played at the new stadium and Langer said it appeared the wicket was similar to the fast track which made its predecessor, the WACA, a haven for pace bowlers.
“I’m really fascinated and can’t wait to see what the wicket brings,” he said. “There’s only been one four-day game in its history.
“I went and watched a bit of the NSW versus WA game — there was certainly some pace and bounce there. We’ve also seen some pace and bounce in it during the one-dayers and T20 game.”
But he said neither team would know how the drop-in pitch plays in Test conditions until the match begins on Friday morning.
“Time will tell what the wicket brings… If we can get (WACA-style pace and bounce) it’d be a great thing for Test cricket,” Langer said.
Langer also scoffed at suggestions skipper Paine could miss the Test after a delivery in Adelaide smashed into a right finger that has required several operations in the past.
“Paine is the toughest pretty boy I’ve seen in my life,” he said.
“Even if it was snapped in about four places he’d still be right. He’s absolutely fine. He’s obviously had issues with it before but he’s 100 per cent ready to go.”
India, meanwhile, are treating their pace bowlers like prize-winning thoroughbreds while cautioning them against straining too hard at the reins in Perth.
Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah took 14 of 20 wickets at the Adelaide Oval in a fine debut as a pace trio.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan wrote on Twitter that India skipper Virat Kohli and actress wife Anushka Sharma had given up their business class seats to two of the quicks for the three-and-a-half-hour flight from Adelaide to Perth on Tuesday.
India coach Ravi Shastri said all three were being spared net duties on Tuesday in a bid to freshen up before day one of the second Test.
“I think fast bowlers are a precious commodity and they need to be taken care of like what you do with a racehorse,” India bowling coach Bharat Arun said in Perth on Wednesday.
“And that’s exactly what’s happening.”
Arun said India’s bowlers are looking forward to the track in Perth after the relatively unhelpful surface served up at Adelaide.
“Definitely with a little help from the wicket, obviously the bowlers would love that sort of a wicket,” he said.
“Again, whatever is in the offing, we are happy with it.”
However, he said he would urge his bowlers to stick to the same recipe that brought success in Adelaide — consistency and sustained pressure.
“You can be carried away with the extra pace and bounce but again you need to understand that on any responsive track, what is really going to be successful is your consistency,” he said. “And that’s exactly what we’re going to work with the bowlers.”