Their confidence soaring high after five Test wins in a row, Australia captain Tim Paine says they can’t wait to host India for a “mouth-watering” series later this year. But revenge is certainly not on their minds.
Australia had suffered their first-ever Test series defeat against India at home in 2018-19 when they missed prolific batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner, who were serving bans following a ball-tampering scandal that shook world cricket.
Australia have taken long strides since then with young batsmen rising to the occasion, their fast bowlers doing much better and the Smith-Warner pair getting back to the fold. The Aussies humbled Pakistan in both the Tests inside four days and scored dominant victories over the Black Caps.
A sense of confidence has replaced desperation as Paine spoke of India’s tour Down Under.
“If we go to Bangladesh and play well and get some wins over there, then we come back to Australia playing India, that’s a pretty mouth-watering series for players and for fans,” Paine said.
“It’s hard not to be looking at that, and we’ve got some people at Cricket Australia already looking ahead to that series. But for the main playing group, our next goal is Bangladesh and we certainly can’t take that lightly.”
Australia’s struggle against India at home last season reflected in their batting as the highest individual score was opener Marcus Harris’s 79 in the final Test in Sydney, but this season they had a triple-century (Warner), a double-century (Marnus Labuschagne) and at least one individual hundred in every Test.
Paine said they are not looking at revenge, but something bigger is at stake. “I definitely won’t be looking at it as revenge. We’re certainly a different side from what they played here against last year and there’s more at stake — there are the World Test Championship points at stake.
“Both of the two teams, Australia and India, are eyeing that final, so every point is going to be critical. If we can continue our upward trend that we’ve shown in the last 12 months, then you’re potentially looking at the top couple of teams that are in the top two or three in the world. It’s going to be an awesome series.”