Cricket

Australia vs India | We expect Smith to be there: Paine


Australian batting mainstay Steve Smith, whose fitness became a cause of concern after he missed a training session, was merely down with a stiff back and will play in the opening Test against India here, skipper Tim Paine said on Wednesday.

After doing a few stretching exercises and running drills at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday, Smith had skipped the routine football session and headed straight to the dressing room in some discomfort. The day-night Test against India starts on Thursday

Paine said it was not a serious niggle and a day’s rest came as a “blessing in disguise” for the star.

“We expect Steve to be there. He has had a stiff back a number of times before and you can have that if you bat as much as he does at the nets,” Paine said at the pre-match media interaction here.

“He had a stiff back before and yesterday was more precautionary. Obviously, come tomorrow, he gets through stiff back and finds a way to score runs like he always does,” he added.

Australia has already been hit by multiple injuries, with David Warner (groin) and Will Pucovski (concussion) ruled out of the opening Test.

Promising all-rounder Cameron Green, who will make his Test debut on Thursday, suffered a mild concussion after being hit on the head by a shot from Jasprit Bumrah in the pink ball warm-up match between India and Australia A in Sydney.

He had to be replaced under the sport’s concussion rules in that match and has since been monitored by Cricket Australia’s medical staff.

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