Starc tipped to fire back in Perth Test

Tim Paine has backed Mitchell Starc to bounce back from a wayward performance against India.A wounded Mitchell Starc has been backed to answer his critics in Perth, where have entrusted an unchanged XI to level the Test series against India.

Skipper Tim Paine has declared Starc primed to capitalise on a fast and bouncy Perth Stadium pitch that looks set to be a huge factor in the second Test starting on Friday.

Starc’s wayward bowling in Adelaide has been heavily dissected since India claimed a 31-run victory in the series-opener.

The left-armer struggled to find his radar at times but could benefit from the new Perth stadium’s tendency to trap humidity and help produce conventional swing.

Paine rubbished suggestions might have considered dropping Starc, who has taken 24 wickets at 33.79 this year.

“I don’t think there was any (consideration),” Paine said on Thursday.

“I think the criticism he’s come under this week has been pretty unfair to be honest … his best and his worst are getting closer together and I think we’re getting really close to his best again.

“He swung the ball in Adelaide which he didn’t do in the UAE. I think he’ll swing it out there (in Perth) – I think the conditions are going to suit him down to the ground.

“One thing I know about Starcy is when he cops a bit of criticism, normally he takes it pretty personally and that sometimes gets the best out of him.”

Paine confirmed Aaron Finch will again open the batting in Perth, where must avoid defeat if they are to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

The sight of a green deck on the eve of the Test suggests there will be plenty on offer for the fast bowlers but Paine said the 38C forecast would temper any excitement.

“It’s going to be hard to put a team in when it’s going to be almost 40 degrees – I’m not sure the bowlers would speak to me,” Paine said.

“Having said that, if you’re bowling first I think the conditions will be quite favourable.

“With the heat that’s around in the next few days it’s probably going to break up and you’ll see some cracks in it late in the game.”

Paine said would be well-prepared for any Indian XI with the tourists yet to reveal who will replace injured duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma.

Ashwin’s abdominal strain could open the door for India to play four quicks, having named Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in their 13-man squad.

Spin-bowling allrounder Hanuma Vihari is tipped to replace Rohit, who jarred his back while fielding in Adelaide.

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

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