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Ajinkya Rahane the glue that held team together last time, says Aussie skipper

News Agencies | Updated on: 16 December 2020, 9:38 IST

Ahead of the four-match Test series against India, Australia skipper Tim Paine on Wednesday said that Ajinkya Rahane was the glue that held the Virat Kohli-led side together when they managed to emerge triumphant in a Test series for the first time Down Under.

The first Test of the four-match series between Australia and India, beginning on December 17, will be played at the Adelaide Oval and it will be a day-night contest. Australia has the best record in day-night Tests as the side has not lost a single match that has been played with the pink ball.

Skipper Kohli would be playing just one Test against Australia and he would head back home after the conclusion of the Adelaide Test as he has been granted paternity leave by the BCCI. Once Virat leaves, Rahane would be leading the Indian side for the remaining three Test matches.

"When Kohli leaves, we know the talent they have in their side. Pujara obviously troubled us a lot last time around so he is a big key for us, but we know the talent they have, we saw Rishabh Pant hitting a very quick hundred in the second practice game so they have got guys who can take away the Test match pretty quickly. Clearly, Rahane held the team together last time, he was the glue last time around so he is a huge focus for us," said Paine while replying to an ANI query during a pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

During the 2018-19 series, which India won 2-1, Paine was the one who took the fight to Kohli and the duo was seen in some verbal battles especially during the Perth Test. When ANI asked about whether Paine will once again look to do the same, Paine replied: "Look in terms of what goes on the field, we have to wait and see, you do not go into a match thinking that you will have run-ins with the opposition camp or be overly aggressive, we will just try to execute our plans and skills with bat and ball, at times thing on the field can be a bit wiery, if they are it is for sure that this team would not be taking a backward step."

On Tuesday, Steve Smith had left Australia's training session early due to back soreness at the Adelaide Oval, sending alarm bells ringing ahead of the first Test against India. David Warner and Will Pucovski have already been ruled out of the first Test against India.

"Dave won't be there but we expect Steve to be there. Steve's had a stiff back a number of times before and you do when you bat at training as much as he does. But his preparation has been very good, he has batted for the last week since we've been in Adelaide, so for him to have a day off might actually be a blessing in disguise yesterday," said Paine.

"He's played all the ODIs, once we got to Adelaide, he batted for four days straight. So his preparation has been pretty good. He's in to train today, so we'll see how he goes, but come tomorrow, whether he's fit and sore in the back, or stiff in the back, I think he normally gets up, gets through it, and finds a way to score runs like he always does," he added.

The Border-Gavaskar series will be telecasted on Sony Ten 3 (Hindi), Sony Ten 1, and Sony six channels. The first Test of the series, a pink-ball contest, will begin on December 17 at Adelaide.

Australia had won the ODI series while the Men in Blue walked away with the honours in the T20I series.


Also Read: Ind vs Aus: We don't talk about taunting Virat, that's rubbish, says Langer

First published: 16 December 2020, 9:38 IST