Tim Paine has suggested that Australia are likely to vary their pace bowling attack in each Ashes Test according to conditions.
There has been much speculation over the make-up of the Australian attack for the first Test at Edgbaston, with Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood set to compete for one place.
Captain Paine is delighted with the strength in depth of his bowling unit and says selections will be made based on each Test, not just what the bowlers have done in the past.
“Reputation counts. Guys have had long, successful careers and we know how good they are. We are in a really good situation at the moment where we have a number of quality fast bowlers in particular,” Paine said.
“We’ve looked at what has happened over here previously. We want to make sure that every Test we go into we are picking the right bowlers for the conditions that we are faced with.
“We are lucky that we feel we have a lot of bases covered. It’s up to us to come up with the best combinations to take 20 wickets.”
Paine added: “I have (settled on a team) but I don’t get the final say so we’ll have a team tomorrow at the toss.
“Our quicks that have been here before have learned lessons from being here before. It’s important that we learn from them and put what we’ve learned into practice in this series.”
Paine was instated as Australia Test captain after Steve Smith was stripped of the role for his part in the ball-tampering scandal of last year.
But Paine has just one first-class century in his career and some have questioned his place in the side with the bat.
“No, I do not at all (feel I have to justify my place),” Paine said. “I’m 34 years old, I don’t really care about my place in the side any more. I’m here to do a job.
“I’ve been put in this team to captain and wicket-keep to the best of my ability and I’ve said before at 34 years of age, if you are looking further ahead than the next Test match you are kidding yourself.
“I’m not going to waste time looking over my shoulder. I’m enjoying the job that I’m doing.”
Paine believes his side are capable of being the first Australia team to win the Ashes in England since 2001.
“(The Ashes) means a hell of a lot. Every time you play Test cricket against anyone it’s a real honour to be out there representing your country,” Paine said.
“The history of the Ashes takes that to another level. We are excited, we have an opportunity to come to England and do something that even some of our great teams haven’t managed to do in the last 20 years.
“We have the self-belief that we can do it. Everyone can’t wait.”
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Australia’s track record of late at Edgbaston does not bode well for visitors’ chances in the first Ashes Test against England but skipper Tim Paine remains unfazed by the prospect.
The Aussie are yet to win a match at the ground since 2001 when they last captured the Ashes series on England soil and have since gone on to taste nine losses and one draw across all three formats at Edgbaston.
In contrast, Edgbaston has been a near fortress for hosts England with the side unbeaten in nine Tests at the venue since their last defeat to South Africa in 2008. In fact, the hosts have now won 11 matches on the trot at the venue coming into Thursday’s Test.
Despite their dismal track record, Paine feels that the venue for the Ashes series opener is ultimately inconsequential for his side.
“Regardless of where it is, obviously we want to get off to a good start in the Ashes,” the wicketkeeper-batsman was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“It’s really important that you get some momentum early in a big series like this. We haven’t spoken about whether Edgbaston is a fortress for them, because that’s irrelevant.
“It’s about being clear on what we want to do, both individually and as a team. If we can be really clear, come out and execute well, it doesn’t matter if we play at Edgbaston or on the moon, we think our best cricket is good enough.”
It was at Edgbaston itself that England beat Australia in the semi-final on their way to a maiden World Cup title earlier this month. Paine, however, is surprised at the pitch for the first Test and believes it could suit Australia’s strengths.
“The pitch looked a bit different,” the Aussie skipper stated.
“I must admit I was expecting a bit of a green top – it’s certainly a different colour than I expected but there is a thick covering of grass on it.
“Given there’s been a lot of rain, and the overcast skies here, I think the Dukes ball is going to swing around and it looks like, if anything, there might be a bit more pace in it than I was expecting, which again might suit us.”
Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss and chose to bat in the third one-day international against Bangladesh at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Wednesday.
The hosts will be looking to sweep the series after winning the first two matches by 91 runs and seven wickets respectively.
Sri Lanka made four changes from Sunday’s match, bringing in Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Kasun Rajitha and Wanindu Hasaranga for Lahiru Thirimanne, Akila Dananjaya, Nuwan Pradeep and Isuru Udana.
Bangladesh made two changes with Rubel Hossain and Anamul Haque coming in for Mustafizur Rahman and Mosaddek Hossain in their bid for a consolation win.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Shehan Jayasuriya, Kasun Rajitha, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal (capt), Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Anamul Haque, Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain
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