Australia skipper Paine keen to have Smith, Warner back

By Sports Desk December 30, 2018

Tim Paine admits Australia are in need of the experience of stars Steve Smith and David Warner as they continue to serve 12-month bans.

Smith and Warner were both suspended for a year by Cricket Australia, with Cameron Bancroft ruled out for nine months, due to their involvement in the national team's ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March.

And Australia, led by Paine following skipper Smith's sanction, have struggled in the absence of their key men, most recently losing the third Test to India by 137 runs in Melbourne on Sunday.

Marnus Labuschagne has subsequently been called into the squad for the fourth match in Sydney, but Paine believes experience is needed and referenced Smith and Warner as he discussed the problem in his news conference.

"I think it's inexperience, it's pressure," the captain said. "India's bowling attack is probably as good as most of us have ever played.

"I think it's pretty clear that if you take two or three of the best players out of anyone's line-up around the world, you're going to struggle a little bit at times and you are going to have inconsistent performances.

"The silver lining is that we do have world-class players that are available soon to come back into this side, and clearly, when they do, they will make a huge difference."

Paine's men must defeat India in Sydney to draw the series and deny the tourists a first Test series win away to Australia.

Meanwhile, Bancroft made his competitive professional return in Australia later on Sunday, having served his ban, but he failed to impress in Perth Scorchers' Big Bash League defeat to Hobart Hurricanes.

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