Australia's Paine-staking homework on Kiwi streetfighters
Australia smashed up Pakistan under lights, but Tim Paine's mornings have been spent going to school on his next assignment - the world's most underrated cricket team.
New Zealand arrive in Perth later this week for the marquee series of the summer, and Paine declared his sore finger and Mitchell Starc's split toe will not be a hindrance to the squad Australia will announce this morning to face the Kiwis.
Nathan Lyon stormed back into form with a series-clinching five-wicket haul against Pakistan last night in Adelaide, as Australia made a statement with their second victory by an innings in as many matches.
Lyon's haul included his 50th wicket at Adelaide Oval - the ground where he first worked as a curator - and Paine praised his spinner's ability to bounce back after going wicketless in the first innings.
"He bowled really well in the first innings as well. We just let him down. Missed some chances off him," said Paine.
"But I think Lyono today turned up and did exactly what we wanted him to do particularly in the second innings and win us Test matches."
However, the real challenger for the summer is yet to cross the Tasman.New Zealand are the No.2 Test team in the world and Paine has been getting up early to watch the Black Caps battle it out in their Test against England which will conclude on Tuesday.
Paine says David Warner's thumping man-of-the-series heroics with the bat and the clinical performance of his bowling attack have his side well poised to take the next step up in intensity.
"I've certainly watched New Zealand the last few mornings and they look like they're a really disciplined, well drilled Test team," said Paine.
"We know they always fight and scrap really hard, it looks like now they've still got that fight and scrap in them but they've also got some class players as well. I can't wait and I know the boys in the sheds are really looking forward to it.
"They love playing in big series and the way both sides are playing at the moment it is shaping up as exactly that. It's going to be really tough and competitive, and it's going to be a really big series."
Paine played down any doubt over his ability to get up for the first Kiwi Test starting in Perth on Thursday week, despite it being a different injury than the chronic finger problem that has troubled him most of his career.
"No different one, but it happens. I'm used to it now. I've been keeping for a long time," said Paine.
"The pink ball is a challenge, you tend to cop a few more. I find it's just a bit hard to judge the distance with particularly at night. It seems to hit your hands a bit earlier than you think. But I'll be fine.
Paine hinted at some possible additions to Australia's Test squad as the summer goes on, with selectors to in time look at an all-rounder and a second spinner.Mitchell Marsh still seems a couple of weeks away from a return from his busted hand, while Ashton Agar would appear the likely second spinner.
"Particularly this game I thought that it was quite a professional performance, barring some catches (dropped) and my (missed) stumping yesterday," said Paine, who praised his bowlers for getting through 170 odd consecutive overs after enforcing the follow on.
"I thought the way our bowlers backed up, kept on coming.
"They're fine. Again, we're lucky not only because of how good they are but they're great athletes as well. We knew they had that in them to be able to go again.
"Starcy is fine. Starcy has a bit of a cut on his big toe, he did land awkwardly at one stage yesterday but that was fine. Most of his grimacing was him waiting for the nail to come off the big toe."
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