Aaron Finch should move down the order. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Aaron Finch should move down the order. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Unanswered questions: What do we do with Finch?

THERE was fight, right until the end, but still Australia lost in Adelaide.

Captain Tim Paine said there were things his side needed to work on, but was confident, after a bold showing, the difference between the two teams this series is not great.

The second Test starts in Perth on Friday, at a new stadium, on a new wicket.

What does it look like for the Australian team which needs a win to stay in the series.




AUSTRALIA will take the same squad to Perth, but coach Justin Langer did forecast he was not afraid to change the top three, to find a combination that works.

Opening partnerships in Adelaide, between Finch and first-gamer Marcus Harris, were zero and 28. But Australia was two down for less than 50 in both innings.

Most pundits believed before Adelaide that Finch was best served batting down the order in Australia, a position his efforts of 0 and 11 only backed up.

Finch's opener partner Marcus Harris wants continuity at the top, and he has a connection with his Victorian teammate, having opened together with the Renegades in the Big Bash.


It was tough for Finch in Adelaide. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
It was tough for Finch in Adelaide. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)


But all the numbers, including a Sheffield Shield average of 50 for the Vics when batting deeper, say Finch serves the cause better coming in later.

"If we've got to keep making some changes (we will), because we know how important it is for successful teams," Langer said before play on the final day.

The standout choice is simply to move every batsmen up a spot, with Usman Khawaja opening and Finch falling back to six.

But then there's the issue of Shaun Marsh at number three. He found his way in the second innings, but the coach conceded he was a "nervous starter".

That would leave Australia with a brand new opening combo, and the potential for a nervy Marsh to be batting in the first over.

Captain Tim Paine said he hadn't given it too much thought, but also that if Langer was putting in on the agenda, then they would certainly be talking about it before play begins at the WACA.


Will there be a place for Mitchell Marsh? (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Will there be a place for Mitchell Marsh? (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)



THE early mail is everyone should get ready for a four-day Test in Perth on a new drop-in wicket the curator expects to do a bit.

Mitch Marsh is part of the squad, and the man who beat him out for a spot in Adelaide on batting ability alone, Peter Handscomb, was serviceable.

Marsh also did his cause for a recall little good with 32 runs in two innings for WA at the MCG, and 1-82 with the ball.

Shane Warne continued his push for Marcus Stoinis to get a Tests call-up and the West Australian made a gallant 85 to help guide his team to a Sheffield Shield draw at the MCG.

But a fifth bowler might not be needed anyway.

The curiosity around the form and fitness of attack spearhead Mitch Starc, after he sprayed the new ball on Sunday, was batted away by Paine who said he was happy with his output.

In fact Paine was pretty happy his four strike bowlers took 20 Indian wickets for less than 550 runs, even though it wasn't enough for a win.

The Aussie attack gets one day's more rest than the Indians too, having bowled 20 overs less for the game.

Nathan Lyon is bowling a like man who wants the ball all the time, and with Travis Head also available to turn his arm over, the bowling stocks look fully filled, and more than capable of delivering Paine a victory.


India didn’t need to reply on Kohli this time. (AAP Image/Kelly Barnes)
India didn’t need to reply on Kohli this time. (AAP Image/Kelly Barnes)



Before the series began, the suspicions were it was Kohli or bust for the tourists and their chances of a first ever series victory in Australia.

But Kohli made just 37 runs in Adelaide, and only averages 10 in his past four Tests against Australia, yet his team won well.

The King said after the game his team had "nothing to lose" and had come to Australia to "have fun, play good cricket and be positive in our minds".

Kohli isn't short of confidence, or motivation, desperate to be the first of nine Indian captains to tour here and be victorious.

Now he has that, plus the momentum of a first-up win, a near-impenetrable force in number three Cheteswhar Pujara plus a bowling attack which took 20 Australian wickets with, apart from a wagging tail, not a heap of trouble.

If Kohli can get runs too, India becomes a whole lot scarier, and getting back in the series an even tougher task for Tim Paine.


Tim Paine’s injury was a cause for concern. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Tim Paine’s injury was a cause for concern. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)


The skipper was adamant his finger, which has been operated on seven times and copped a heavy fourth innings hit, was fine.

But until he was OK the questions were being thrown around with very furrowed brows about who would take over if he couldn't play.

Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood is the team's vice-captain, but hasn't been a captain, anywhere, and would be unlikely to take the reins if Paine was forced on to the sidelines.

Mitch Marsh is the other deputy, but he can't make the team.

State captains Usman Khawaja (Queensland), Peter Handscomb (Victoria) and Travis Head (South Australia) are in the team, as is Australia's white-ball leader Aaron Finch.

But the opener has own batting issues to deal with and assuming the captaincy would be a huge surge in responsibility for any of the other three.

Ironically the other two state captains, Peter Nevill at NSW and new Tasmanian leader Matthew Wade, are both wicket keepers. Although Wade is playing as a batter only for the Tigers,

The gloves would probably be filled by Alex Carey anyway should Pain go down. Carey, vice-captain to Finch in both the one-day and T20 teams, made his maiden Sheffield Shield century on the weekend and is considered the next in line.

But the captaincy is the real vacancy and if someone else is required to take the reins they face an uphill battle to get Australia back in to the series.


Every Test, ODI, T20I, and BBL match live. SIGN UP NOW!