Paineful wait is finally over

Eight months since his last score of substance, and after a long wait and hundreds of throwdowns, Tim Paine has a golden chance to silence those who criticise his batting.

As much as the Australian and Tasmanian captain would be delighted with the form of Charlie Wakim and Ben McDermott, who batted South Australia into submission in Adelaide, his players’ success starved the skipper of time in the middle.

After trotting out for throwdown sessions at every break, Paine at last had his turn at the crease when McDermott (90 from 191 balls) spooned a catch to square leg deep in the last session at Karen Rolton Oval.

Walking off with an unbeaten 22 (48 balls, two fours) was satisfying for Paine but priceless for the country. There’s still plenty of runs in the true wicket and no rush to declare.

After keeping impeccably for 80 overs on Monday, Paine was quickly into the nets for throwdowns after play.

He had more throwdowns Tuesday morning and still more while his teammates had lunch.

Then, while they ate their individually packaged, Covid-safe afternoon tea, the Australian captain was making a din outside, smashing straight drives into the pickets.

There’s nothing like time in the middle, especially ahead of the Indian series and especially given the lingering questions being asked about his output at No 7 in the Test side.

When Paine made just four and 10 against Queensland last week, Allan Border said the skipper sorely needed a decent score.

“Tim Paine has done a great job as captain after the ball tampering scandal,” Border told Fox Sports News.

“He’s been brilliant, but he still has to perform and with Alex Carey in the wings, he’s putting a lot of pressure on him.

“That could be an interesting one, but I’d like to see Tim Paine get some runs which he didn’t do in the first Shield game, just to add to the other good things he brings to the table.”

Some sort of hat-trick from Chadd Sayers of the Redbacks in Adelaide (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Entering these Shield matches, Paine had last batted in a match in March. His unbeaten 48 against West Australia in February was his most recent score of note.

His leadership and glovework are beyond reproach, but keepers have been required to make runs since Adam Gilchrist ruined it for everyone.

Fortunately for Paine, the Adelaide hub is well stocked with nets and they’ve been in almost constant use this week.

It’s arguable which will wear out first – the arms of the wanger-wielding assistant coaches or the bowlers toiling on flat day two and three pitches.

After an early wobble, Tasmania had ground out 5-311 by stumps. McDermott added 154 with Wakim (83 from 205 balls) and Jake Doran contributed an increasingly expansive 82 not out.

Chadd Sayers showed his class to take 3-21 from 24 unerring overs (14 maidens).

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