Pucovski ‘ready to go’ as Australia considers new opening partnership


Sydney (AFP)

Batting prodigy Will Pucovski is “ready to go,” captain Tim Paine said Wednesday, as Australia look set for a new opening partnership in the high-stakes third test against India this week.

The cricket heavyweights head into the clash with the streak locked at 1-1 with both desperate for a win before the final game in Brisbane next week.

Barring any last-minute hiccups, Australia will once again welcome the firepower of veteran David Warner to the top of the order, with Pucovski being tipped to make his debut alongside them following the drop of Joe Burns.

There had been speculation the selectors might stick with makeshift opener Matthew Wade even if Pucovski was fully recovered from the latest in a series of concussions.

But Paine has hinted that the 22-year-old, who has hit Sheffield Shield back-to-back two centuries this season, would play, which would see Wade revert to his favorite number five and Travis Head likely eliminated.

“Davey was great, he brings a lot of intensity. It fills the confidence of the guys around him, he’s a player you love to have by your side, ”Paine of Warner said after a groin injury.

“He always has a lot to say, really energetic, very professional.

“And Will was fantastic too,” he added. “He’s been out of the bubble a few weeks ago, but he’s excited, he’s fresh. He looks ready to go if called. ”

If Pucovski plays, he can expect a bouncer dam as India seeks to unsettle a man who has already suffered a concussion nine times in his career.

But after a neurologist gave him the green light on Monday after his last blow to the head, Paine said he had no concerns.

“Will has been hit in the head several times, but he plays the short ball very well. And as long as he’s comfortable, then we’re comfortable and so far he’s indicating he’s good to go. ”

After Australia win in Adelaide and India bounce back in Melbourne, they are preparing at Sydney Cricket Ground from Thursday for what will be a home test for many.

The Australian attack – Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon – are all from New South Wales, as are Warner and Steve Smith.

“We have a great track record here. A lot of our guys are their home ground so they love to play here, they love to be home, they enjoy the conditions, ”said Paine.

“All of our bowlers are obviously New South Welshmen, they know the wicket very well, they use the conditions really well and they play really well as a group here. We expect that will not change. ”

“It’s the same with our stick,” he added. “Our two best drummers, it’s their home ground, it’s where they do their best. ”


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