UPDATE 1-Cricket-Australia captain Paine backs Smith to find form

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(Add quotes from Smith in paragraphs 9 to 12)

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE, Dec.29 (Reuters) – Australia captain Tim Paine backed Steve Smith to get back into shape and lead the team’s batsmen out of their funk after the former skipper’s twin failures in Melbourne precipitated the hosts to a resounding eight-wicket loss on Tuesday. .

Smith, the world‘s highest-ranked test batsman, was absent for his first duck in four years in the opening innings and was knocked around his legs by paceman Jasprit Bumrah for eight in the second as India leveled the game. series 1-1 at Melbourne Cricket. Ground.

After scoring one and one step in Australia’s dominant victory in Adelaide’s opener, Smith is mired in the worst test run of his career.

India attacked Smith’s stumps and put heavy fields on his legs, and Paine paid off his bowlers’ credit for not allowing the master batsman to settle in.

But he added that this was not the first time Smith has dealt with such tactics and expected the 31-year-old to work his way through them.

“From what I’ve seen looking at, say, Marnus (Labuschagne) and Steve Smith in their testing careers, this isn’t the first time teams have targeted their strains,” Paine told reporters.

“It happens in every test match. Except these guys (from India) perform it better.

“Someone like Steve just hasn’t been able to get in yet. Once he does, he’ll find a way like he always has. The rest of us will follow. We have to improve, without no doubt about it. “

Smith, fired by Ravichandran Ashwin twice in the series, admitted he needed to find the confidence to be more offensive after letting the spinner “dictate the terms”.

“This is probably something that I have never let any spinner do in my career,” he told Australian radio station SEN.

“I brought them and I was aggressive and I made them change things. I didn’t allow that to happen probably because I’m looking to be there long enough, so it’s a double-edged sword of sorts.

“I think I just need to have the confidence to face and play my game.”

Elected for 195 in the opening innings, Australia made 200 in the second, the first time in the series, but only thanks to the challenge of their tail stick.

Paine didn’t think there was a need to change the batting order, but only managed lukewarm support for opener Joe Burns while welcoming the prospect of valiant opener David Warner returning for the third. test.

Righthander Burns was out for a duck and made four at the MCG and looked horribly bad in both innings.

“I just think we have to beat better no matter who is out there – we have to score points,” Paine said.

“It’s our job as the top seven of the Australian cricket team. Obviously they (the selectors) will be watching other people.

“I think we have the best people here right now. We just weren’t good enough to get the job done.”

(Edited by Peter Rutherford)

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