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Tim Paine won’t blame batsmen-friendly wickets for Australia’s lacklustre bowling performances, but says a lack of bounce has hurt their ability remove Indian rock Cheteshwar Pujara this summer.
Pujara took his time in the middle batting this series to just short of 24 hours on Friday, as India racked up the sixth highest score by a visiting team of 7(dec)-622 at the SCG.
The Indian No.3 has been the biggest difference in the series, posting centuries in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne – and only failing cheaply in Perth where he scored just 24 and 4 in India’s loss.
But Paine said that was on a more traditional Australian wicket that at least offered some pace and bounce for bowlers.
“I thought in Perth where we got some bounce in the wicket we saw how we can get him out – caught behind the wicket twice,” Paine said.
“That was one of the things we thought we’d get a bit more in the series but we probably haven’t.
“With Pujara if you’re not swinging the ball he’s extremely hard to get out. Early in the innings you’re trying to hit his stumps and his pad.
“In the form he’s in he’s not missing too many. When the wicket is like it is and you can’t swing the ball not many players miss them.”
Paine was critical of the decks served up this summer after the Boxing Day Test, claiming a lack of life in some had had handed the advantage to India.
But on Friday he said his team had to shoulder the blame in what looks almost certain to be India’s first Test series success on Australian soil.
The hosts have struggled to make breakthroughs particularly in both Melbourne and Sydney, having bowled for the majority of the opening two days in both Tests without taking India’s 10 wickets.
“It is what it is. We can’t really control it, we just have to play better than what we have,” Paine said.
“The pitch here and the pitch in Melbourne didn’t make us bowl as badly as we probably have in this Test. We’ve just been outplayed.
“Both teams have had similar conditions.
“But from me, who also loves watching Test cricket, I’m sure guys would like to see a bit more pace and bounce in Australia. Something we’ve probably become accustomed to in Australia.”