Australia vs India: Steve Smith Fit For 1st Test vs India Despite “Stiff Back”, Says Australia Captain Tim Paine

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ISLAMABAD, December 16 (online): Australia skipper Tim Paine hosed down concerns over the fitness of star batsman Steve Smith Wednesday ahead of the opening Test with India, and hinted struggling Joe Burns will keep his spot as opener. Smith, the world’s number one Test batsman, was unable to have a net session at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday after appearing to hurt his back during warm-up exercises. But Paine said his no-show was precautionary and the former captain was set to take the field on Thursday in their first-ever day-night Test against Virat Kohli’s India, who won their last series in Australia 2-1.
“His preparation has been very good,” Paine said of Smith. “He’s batted for the last week since we’ve been in Adelaide. So for him to have a day off might actually be a blessing in disguise.
“He’s had a stiff back before. Yesterday was more precautionary,” he added.
“He’s in to train today, so we’ll see how he goes. But come tomorrow, whether he’s fit and sore in the back, or stiff in the back, I think he normally gets up, gets through it and finds a way to score runs like he always does.”
Australia have been dogged by injuries ahead of the four-Test series, with opener David Warner ruled out of Adelaide with a groin injury and his replacement Will Pucovski also missing as he recovers from a concussion.
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