Tim Paine has explained the decision to rest James Pattinson for the second Ashes Test is to look after the Australia paceman’s long-term prospects.
Pattinson contributed to a 251-run win over England at Edgbaston in the series opener, but he was left out of a 12-man squad on Tuesday for the second contest at Lord’s.
However, given Pattinson’s past injury problems – his appearance in the opening Test was his first in five-ball cricket since February 2016 – Paine insists Australia were not willing to take a risk.
The tourists’ captain told the media Pattinson was always likely to have to miss a match at some stage and the opportunity to bring in either Mitchell Starc or Josh Hazlewood made the decision easier.
“We have two world-class bowlers on the sidelines and we want to make sure that James is absolutely cherry ripe every time he plays,” Paine told a news conference.
“He’s available for selection, but we’ve decided to rest him for this game to make sure that his long-term future is in really good shape.
“It was always going to be one way or the other. He would either miss this Test and be fresher for the third Test, or he has this one after the long break and doesn’t play the third.
“I think if you look at Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood’s records at Lord’s, that’s a good venue for one of them to come in and play and be confident in the fact that they can bowl really well here.”
Given Australia’s strength in depth, England captain Joe Root expected such a call was likely to be made at some point.
“I was and I wasn’t [surprised],” he said. “With the squad of bowlers they have, over the course of a five-match series, they are going to chop and change things over, try to find different formulas for different surfaces and conditions.
“I’m not surprised they’ve gone with those two added to the squad.”