Tim Paine was delighted by the way Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood reacted to missing out on the first Ashes Test but is preparing to disappoint one of the pace duo for the second time at Lord’s.
Australia sprang something of a surprise by leaving the pair out at Edgbaston but a 251-run win vindicated their selection.
James Pattinson has been rested after making his Test comeback after almost three years in Birmingham, opening a spot in the attack, but with Pat Cummins and Peter Siddle set to continue, Paine can only give good news to one of his senior seamers.
“They are both world-class bowlers and when you leave guys like that out you can see what sort of people they are and we’ve been really impressed with both of them,” he said.
“We are absolutely rapt the way they have gone about it and whichever one of those two we unleash they are certainly ready to go.
“Obviously they were both disappointed but they are really both excellent team men. It’s always nice from a captaincy and a leadership point of view when you’ve got two senior players who are world-class left out and they cop it on the chin, run drinks, and train their backsides off in the lunch hours and tea breaks. It sets a really good example for the rest of our team.”
Having two men with a combined Test wicket haul of 381 vying to come into a winning team is a luxury for Paine, who has also been able to manage Pattinson’s workload as a result.
The 29-year-old’s career has been interrupted by major injury problems but there is no longer any need to put too many demands on him, meaning he is now likely to return refreshed for the third Test at Headingley.
“We want to make sure he’s cherry ripe for the next three or four years. In the past we’ve got him back, kept using him and kept bowling him and eventually he’s broken again.
“He’s available for selection but we’ve decided to rest him for this game to make sure his long term future is in really good shape.”
Paine also sought to dampen some of the hype around Jofra Archer’s imminent debut. England fans are understandably excited about seeing the World Cup winner in whites for the first time but most of the Australia squad have already witnessed his express pace at first hand, not least during his spells for Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League.
“A lot of our guys have seen Jofra or faced him which is a plus,” said Paine.
“It’s been in white-ball cricket but we’ve actually faced him in Australia where conditions suit fast bowling. We’ve seen him at his fastest, they know what to expect, they know how skilful he is and how good he is.
“Like most bowlers that play Test cricket there will be times where he’s going to be a real threat and we’re going to have to weather that.”