Tue, 10 Dec 2019

Cape Town - Australia captain Tim Paine will look to Steve Smith and David Warner to give them the fire power to kickstart their bid in the World Test Championship (WTC).

The Aussies host Pakistan for two Test matches, starting on Thursday in Brisbane, with the series also marking the first time Smith and Warner will play international cricket on home soil since their one-year bans for ball-tampering.

Smith was in prolific form in the Ashes tour in England while Warner had a nightmare series with the bat and will be looking to put that right at home.

Paine said ahead of the first Test at the Gabba: "We've enjoyed having them back last winter and certainly Steve has added a hell of a lot of runs, a hell of a lot of know-how and experience and Dave is the same.

"I touched on it a lot last summer, it's really critical that our young players spend a lot of time with those guys, learn from them as much as we can and try and emulate the things they've been doing.

"We would like to support Steve a lot more this summer, Davey is certainly one of those guys who is really keen to get amongst the runs and just watching him the last few days in the nets, he looks as good as I've seen him for a long time, which is a great sign for us."

While he did not score enough runs in England, Warner struck a century on his return home for New South Wales against Queensland in a domestic first-class fixture.

Paine continued about Warner: "He hasn't lost any of his appetite to score runs, he's still working as hard as I've ever seen him work,"

"Just watching him in the last few days, he just looks like he is back to his best, the ball is making a different sound off his bat again, he looks like he is in great positions most of the time when he's batting in the nets.

"But the best and most pleasing thing about Davey was during the whole Ashes when he was probably in the worst form of his career, he didn't change one bit. A lot of players would. He has got unbelievable self-belief, which is his main strength.

"Obviously, he didn't put the runs on the board he would like, but I still know he believes and we believe he is a world-class opener, he has played nearly 80 Tests and averages 45, so I'd be expecting that to be back up over 50 by the end of this series."

- TEAMTalk

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