Paine backs Mitchell Starc to bounce back after pacer's poor Sydney show

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Mitchell Starc (l) and Tim Paine (r).

Australia speedster Mitchell Starc entered the record books for all the wrong reasons on Friday in the final Test against India but he has been backed to bounce back strongly by skipper Tim Paine.

Starc entered day two at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) needing just one more scalp to bring up 200 Test dismissals but it wasn’t to be for the Australia quick who proved to be expensive once again.

Devoid of any confidence, Starc looked extremely lacklustre as he sprayed the ball to all parts of the pitch on day two. His 200th scalp will have to wait another innings with the Australian pacer going wicketless on Friday.

Starc conceded 48 runs from the eight overs he threw down on the second day, taking his overall match figures to 1-123. The 26 overs he has thrown down is the most bowled by any Australian bowler in a home Test innings since 1979-80 without registering a single maiden over.

Following Starc’s poor show, Paine admitted that the pacer was down on confidence.

“He’s down on confidence a little bit, and I think sometime people just forget that he’s just a bloke who’s trying his best,” the Australian skipper stated at the end of the day’s play.

“He’s not running out trying to spray the ball everywhere, that’s what I don’t get with the criticism he’s getting.

“Mitchell Starc is trying his absolute best to do the same thing he did a year ago when he was swinging the ball around corners.”

Following his exertions in the ongoing Test battle, Starc has been handed a rest and will play no part in the upcoming ODI series between Australia and India. Paine has urged the left-armer to rediscover his best during this period of rest.

“He’s going to have a bit of time off during the one-day series so there’s some time for him to go back and look at maybe what’s going wrong at the moment. Has he been at his best in this series? No he hasn’t. Has he been (at this best) for a little while? Probably not. Starcy knows that. He’s working on it,” Paine explained.

Australia’s bowlers were put through the grind once again on day two by the Indian batsmen with the visitors racking up a mammoth 622-7 in their first innings. Trailing 1-2 in the four-match series, Paine and his men are now on the brink of a maiden Test series loss to India on home soil.

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Ponting asks home crowd to show Kohli respect after India skipper is booed

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Virat Kohli was booed heavily at the SCG on Thursday.

The boos that greeted India skipper Virat Kohli in the final Test at Sydney has not gone down too well with former Australia captain Ricky Ponting who has labelled them as ‘disgraceful’.

Kohli was met with a chorus of loud jeers when he came out to bat for India in the first innings on Thursday with the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) faithful giving the batsman a hostile reception.

This was not the first time the India superstar had been met with boos in the four-match series with similar receptions given to him at Perth and Adelaide.

On commentary duties for Channel 7, Ponting said, “If it was booing then it’s absolutely disgraceful.”

“I said that in the Perth Test as well. Show some respect,” the Australian icon added.

Kohli was booed while walking out to bat on day one.

Kohli was booed while walking out to bat on day one.

Ponting was not the only one to criticise the home support with Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts echoing the same sentiments during an interaction on SEN Radio.

“I don’t like seeing that. We talk about making Australians proud, we talk about the fact our goal is to win but our non-negotiable expectation is to compete with honour and I’d urge our fans to support the game with honour,” said Roberts.

“It’s bigger than all of us, respect our visitors, give them the best possible experience of our country, hopefully beat them on the field, but in all seriousness, we need to go about this with respect whether we are a player, administrator, fan, broadcaster. Respect is a really core foundation of the game and hopefully we can see that evident,” the Cricket Australia CEO continued.

Kohli has always divided opinion in Australia since his first tour of the country in 2011-12 where he was spotted showing the ‘middle finger’ to the crowd. However, the No1 ranked Test batsman has since toned down his theatrics although he remains an aggressive competitor on the field.

The boos directed towards Kohli at the SCG were even more baffling considering the fact that the India skipper had come out in support of the Glenn McGrath Foundation with pink gloves and a pink sticker on his bat.

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Siddle recalled as Australia make wholesale changes for ODI series against India

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Peter Siddle has been handed an ODI recall.

Australia have run in the changes for the upcoming ODI series against India with the hosts handing Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon a recall in the 50-over format.

Only six players who were part of the ODI squad which lost to South Africa have been retained while Chris Lynn, Travis Head and D’Arcy Short have been given the chop.

Australia’s pace battery of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood have been handed a rest after their exertions in the Test series while Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson have been called up.

Siddle has not played an ODI for Australia since 2010 but his performances in domestic cricket have seen the veteran get an unexpected recall. Also recalled to the ODI are Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh and Peter Handscomb.

“After a disappointing period in ODI cricket, the National Selection Panel along with team coaches have reviewed our performances across this format and we’ve identified a number of key areas that we feel we need to improve in order to help put this team in the best possible position to turn this period around,” Australia selector Trevor Johns stated.

“With a focus on improving our ability to post competitive totals we’ve recalled Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb and Mitch Marsh to the squad.

“Usman is a batsman we know can put vital runs on the board at the top of the order, and Peter is not only a fine player of spin bowling, he’s also a batsman we know can hold an innings together while keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Mitch gives us another all-round option with his ability with both bat and ball,” he continued.

Australia and India are slated to play three ODIs in the upcoming series with the first match set to be held at Sydney on January 12.

AUSTRALIA 14-MAN SQUAD

Aaron Finch (capt), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa.

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