Cricket 2019: Australia v Pakistan first Test


Australia have struggled to settle on a top three even since Warner resumed his spot in the side after a 12-month ban but Burns looks set for an extended run now while Labuschagne is travelling so well his career average has exceeded that of even Warner.

“I think we’ve known Burnsy is a quality opening batter for a long time,” Paine said. “It’s great to have him back in the side, I think he’s got a great combination happening with Davey.

“And I think Marnus was given some opportunities 18 months ago when some people probably thought he shouldn’t have. But obviously selectors saw the talent he had and he’s taken the experience he learnt to England, got even better, came home to Australia and looks like he’s got better again.

“We’re really happy with the top three in this game. One innings doesn’t make a summer but we’re really happy with the positive signs we saw.

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“Every time you pick you want to be able to stick. It’s been hard to have stability because we haven’t been performing as well as we would have liked. We started to in England a little bit. England is a tough place to bat so there is always going to be a little bit of up and down with your results over there as a batting group. But I think we’ve nutted out a pretty good group at the moment, a group that can still get a lot better.”

On Labuschagne’s 185, Paine said: “We’re rapt to see him do well. He’s got some improvement left in him as well which is awesome, I think he’s just turned 25. It’s pretty exciting to have a No.3 who is playing as well as he is at this age.”

The Australian camp were surprised at the omission in Brisbane of Pakistan’s most experienced seamer, Mohammad Abbas, who troubled them significantly in the United Arab Emirates last year and they expect him to feature in Adelaide.

“I was pretty happy he didn’t play if I’m totally honest,” Paine said. “I thought in the UAE, on wickets that offered absolutely nothing, he somehow made it move. He probably would have been a handful out there. Having said that I think he might have been under an injury cloud or he hasn’t been bowling his absolute best.

“We’ll wait and see. I’m sure he’ll be looked at pretty closely for the next Test match. The guys who have seen him play and know what to expect know how good he is.”

Pakistan could make changes batting order, where Haris Sohail and Iftikhar Ahmed were underwhelming, as well as in their bowling line-up.

“We’ll re-think, we’ll have a few days and make sure we have a very strong side for the last Test match,” Azhar said.

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