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Paine backs under-fire Starc, Finch as Australia name unchanged XI
India tour of Australia

Paine backs under-fire Starc, Finch as Australia name unchanged XI

Australia skipper Tim Paine Thursday defended under-fire Mitchell Starc and Aaron Finch as they were included in an unchanged team for the second India Test.

The home side are aiming to level the Test series at the new Perth Stadium after losing a hard-fought opening Test earlier this week by just 31 runs.

Once again, the trio of Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins will shoulder the bowling load on an expected pacey wicket, with Nathan Lyon the spin option.

Read: Paine admits to Australia’s shortcomings in Adelaide

There had been speculation that Peter Siddle could replace out-of-form Starc who had some wayward spells at Adelaide, including a string of costly byes in India's second innings at Adelaide.

'Starc criticism unfair'

Paine, who has recovered after a delivery in Adelaide smashed into a right finger that has required several operations in the past, said the criticism of Starc was unfair.

"The criticism he has come under this week has been pretty unfair to be honest. I think barring two or three overs in Adelaide where he got his radar a little bit wrong, I thought he bowled really well," he said.

"I think his best and his worst are getting closer together. I think we're getting really close to his best and the conditions here are going to suit him down to the ground."

He added that Starc took the comments personally, and the criticism sometimes gets the best out of him.

Read: Langer expects 'pacey deck' at new Perth stadium

"One thing I know about Starcy is that if he cops a bit of criticism he takes it personally and that sometimes gets the best out of him. So I'm pretty pumped to see him go tomorrow or the next day and see what he can produce."

The selectors also retained Finch to face the new ball alongside rookie Marcus Harris despite his first Test failures and talk that he could move down the order with Usman Khawaja bumped up to opener.

'Encourage players to back their strengths'

Finch, Australia's one-day and Twenty20 captain, spent time with former skipper and batting maestro Ricky Ponting at training on Thursday, and Paine backed him to find form.

"We encourage all our players to back their strengths and Finchy has been successful at international cricket," he said.

"He's like no other player and he just needs that one score to, I suppose, just get that little bit more self-belief that we know he's got at international one-day and T20 cricket.

"You're not going to succeed at international cricket unless you stick to your strengths and Finchy knows the best way he goes about his batting and he'll make sure he keeps trying to do that and if he does he'll come good for us."

Paine said he had no doubt Virat Kohli's men would be "coming really hard" in Perth, but insisted Australia would be ready for them.

Read: Kohli ‘more excited than nervous’ about lively Perth wicket

"They've got a sniff of something special, something they're never done before in Australia so we know it's going to be another hard-fought, highly-competitive Test," he said.

"It's going to be a huge test for our whole group, not just out batters or our bowlers. It's going to take all eleven of us."

Australia XI for second Test:

Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Tim Paine (capt), Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc