Australia captain Tim Paine expects Steve Smith to be fit for this week’s first Test against India despite the sore back that prevented the world’s top-ranked batsman from training on Tuesday.
The hosts are already without another of their top batsmen, injured opener David Warner, for the day-night contest which starts at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
Smith was forced to skip Tuesday’s training session but Paine said he thought his predecessor as captain would be ready to go when the first of four matches against Virat Kohli’s team gets underway.
“Dave won’t be there but we expect Steve to be there. Steve’s had a stiff back a number of times before and you do if you bat at training as much as he does,” Paine told reporters.
“His preparation has been very good (and) for him to have a day off yesterday might be a blessing in disguise.
“Yesterday was more precautionary … come tomorrow, I think if he’s sore in the back, he normally gets through it and gets up and finds a way to score runs.”
Australia’s team for the first Test has been a matter of some conjecture after Warner’s groin injury threw a spanner into the works.
Paine, however, suggested the line-up, which will not be revealed until Thursday’s toss, would not feature many changes to the team for Australia’s last Test against New Zealand in January.
“I don’t think it will look very different to how we finished last summer,” he added. “We’ve had a settled team for quite a while now.”
That would indicate a middle-order batsman joining incumbent Joe Burns at the top of the order and Paine said Matthew Wade was one of several players who had put their hands up to open in place of Warner.
All-rounder Cameron Green is guaranteed to make his Test debut if he clears concussion protocols but Paine said Green would not be considered for the opening role.
“All things going well, Cam Green will make his test debut tomorrow,” Paine said of the 21-year-old.
“We’ll be using Greeny more in that all-rounder spot, there’s no doubt about that. We want use Greeny in positions that give him the best chance to succeed and that means batting down the order.”