He was locked in a battle with Western Australia gloveman Josh Inglis to keep wicket in the looming Ashes series after Paine sensationally stepped away from cricket last week in the wake of a sexting scandal.
But on Tuesday, a dejected looking Inglis was seen flying out of Brisbane – where the first Test will begin on December 8 – and home to Perth.
Carey was believed to be leading the race already, but a last-start century for South Australia in the Marsh Cup would have no doubt confirmed what selectors were thinking.
While Brisbane will be his first time wearing the baggy green, Carey has plenty of experience representing Australia at one-day and Twenty20 level.
He been a leader in the ODI side, and captained Australia A previously.
He has clean hands behind the stumps and averages 34.73 with the bat in first-class cricket.
On Sunday, cricket legend Mark Taylor endorsed Carey as the man to replace Paine in the team.
“I think it’s got to be Alex Carey,” Taylor told Nine’s Sports Sunday.
“Inglis being in the T20 side recently has put a bit of pressure on but Alex Carey’s been around for a while and been a past vice-captain of the Australian one-day side.
“I’ve got him in there just for experience.”
With that decision made, selectors only have one more position to mull over.
Usman Khawaja and Travis Head are fighting it out to bat No.5 in the Australian order at the Gabba.
Making the decision more complicated is the fact wet weather in Brisbane has stymied plans, including a trial game this week.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!