Paine sets sights on ‘mouth-watering’ contest against India
Sydney, Australia - Tim Paine admitted it was hard not to think about the mouth-watering prospect of the Test series against India later this year, after a dominant home season that saw them trample all over Pakistan and New Zealand with five vast victories.
The 279-run victory at the SCG on Monday, capped a perfect Test summer for the home side and meant a full house of World Test Championship (WTC) points to put them second behind runaway leaders India, who will arrive in November for four Tests.
Before then, Australia's Test side have a tricky assignment in Bangladesh for two Tests in June and a one-off match against Afghanistan early next summer, but facing off against India over four matches - two seasons after India's famous win in Australia - is a massive target.
While playing down any element of revenge for what happened last season, when Virat Kohli led a 2-1 success, Paine is looking forward to facing India will a full complement of firstchoice batsmen and with the benefit of the experience the side has had over the last 12 months.
"We are certainly a different side from what they played against last year and there's more at stake with Test Championship points," Paine said.
"If we can continue our upward trend from the last 12 months, then you are looking at two of the best sides, so it will be an awesome series. They showed last year they have a pace battery that can be every bit as threatening as ours so it will be one to watch.
"If we go to Bangladesh and play well and get some wins over there, then you come back to Australia to play India, which is quite a mouth-watering series for players and the fans. It's hard not to be looking at that. We've got some people who're employed in Cricket Australia who are already looking ahead at that series.
"But for the main playing group, your goal is Bangladesh and you certainly can't take it lightly. We went there before and won a Test and lost a Test. And all the reports from the guys who went there is that it's a really, really challenging place to play particularly the time of the year we're going to be there."
Paine had started this summer ‘expecting’ to win all five Tests but said that the margins of victory did not reflect how hard his team were pushed. One of the most pleasing aspects for him was learning from the previous series against India and especially the Ashes in England.
"Think at times in England when the big moments came up we tried too hard and let the emotion of the game take over us executing our skills," he said.
"It's about doing your role, and the teams that can do that win the big moments. There were periods of the Test series against India and England that we should have capitalised on, but through wanting it too much or putting too much pressure on ourselves we let opportunities slip.
"So confidence, learning and having some experienced Test players back as certainly helped."
"We're becoming a more consistent team. We've probably been a little more ruthless. It's a really good sign, after we let some opportunities slip in England. And we've got some real match-winners and great quality throughout our side. It's an exciting team to be a part of."