Langer backs Paine to break through in Perth
JUSTIN Langer has backed cricket's "toughest pretty boy" Tim Paine and his pace attack to solider through the pain threshold as Australia's moment of truth arrives in Perth.
Australia faces an inaugural, historic series loss on home soil against India if it doesn't square up on Perth Stadium's new green top with searing temperatures forecast for the second Test against India starting Friday.
Australia's experienced core must stand up with Langer crediting Virat Kohli's unit for playing with more "passion" in its 31-run triumph at Adelaide Oval - India's first in a Test series opener here.
"There's certainly some pace and bounce. Hopefully on a wicket which is conducive to a bit of swing and seam, the bowlers will get the job done," Langer said..
Paine must repeat the bravado of playing with a hair-line hand fracture against South Africa last March at the Wanderers. The Australian skipper copped a nasty finger blow from India's Mohammed Shami on Monday.
"Painey is the toughest pretty boy I have ever met," said Langer of the 16-Test keeper-batsman who has had seven operations since his index finger was smashed by a Dirk Nannes bouncer in 2010.
"Even if it was snapped in about four pieces, he'd still be right. He's absolutely fine. Obviously he's had issues with it before, but he is 100 percent ready to go," said Langer.
Spearhead Mitch Starc was out of sync at times in the first Test having been given a 16-day break between a first-class clash against Queensland and the first Test. Fatigue shouldn't be an issue for the left-armer, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood or brilliant Nathan Lyon notes Langer.
Langer says Australia's top six batting time is the key to keeping his attack fresh and firing in a Perth hot-house.
'They have had a couple of days off and India are in the same situation," said Langer.
"That is probably the one area where we probably felt we weren't wearing down the Indian bowlers enough this Test. It will be hot on Friday and an important toss to win."
Travis Head top scored with 72 in 167 balls in Australia's first innings against India - the template for his batting comrades.
Langer conceded Australia must settle on the right batting combination with Aaron Finch struggling in the opening slot with Marcus Harris. Usman Khawaja could yet open but that move has been slammed as "reactionary" by former Test skipper Ricky Ponting.
"I am a huge fan of Travis Head. If he has improved this much in six months imagine what he will be like in two years and then five years. He will be a ripper," said Langer with Head's 50-run, first-innings stand with Cummins Australia's highest in Adelaide.
"In Test cricket you can bat so much time and that is the message to Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, there is so much time. We talk about partnerships and patience, building pressure which is one the virtues of being a Test cricketer."
Australia won't have a genuine home advantage in Perth as its walks into the unknown of Brett Sipthorpe's strip. However fringe Test speedster Jhye Richardson took 8/47 in an 11 wicket match-haul for Western Australia against New South Wales in the only first-class game the 60,000 seat venue has staged last month.
"I am really fascinated and can't wait to see what the wicket brings. There is pace and bounce in it. It is an unprecedented period, first Test on a drop in wicket at the new stadium," said Langer