Australian batting spearhead Steve Smith feels that he has allowed Indian ace-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to dictate terms to him, something that he has never allowed any spinner to do the same during his career.
Steve Smith is currently undergoing a lean patch, having managed just 10 runs across four innings in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Smith’s biggest nemesis in the series thus far has been Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been all over the No.1 ranked Test batsmen in the world courtesy brilliant planning and imperious execution of the same.
Ashwin dismissed Smith with a straighter delivery, one that proceeded to square him up, resulting in him giving an easy catch to Ajinkya Rahane at first slip during the first innings of the Adelaide Test. Then in the Melbourne Test, Ashwin outfoxed Steve Smith with the leg-side trap as the Australian flicked the ball straight to leg-slip to register his maiden duck in Test cricket since 2016.
“I probably haven’t played Ashwin as well as I would’ve liked. I probably would’ve liked to have put him under a bit more pressure. I’ve sort of let him dictate terms and that’s something I’ve probably never let any spinner do in my career.” Steve Smith told cricket.com.au.
“I’ve sort of taken it to them (spinners), been a bit more aggressive and made them change things. I haven’t allowed that to happen, probably because I’m searching for just being out there for long enough,” he added.
With Australia having conceded a first-innings lead of 131 in Melbourne, it was imperative on the part of Steve Smith to find his touch and come up with a three-figure score, something that he hasn’t been able to do since he smashed a double-ton against England in September 2019.
That was, however, not to be, as he once again fell to the leg-side trap, this time on the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah, who knocked him over behind his leg for 8.
“At the moment I’m searching for time in the middle; that’s the most important thing for me,” Smith added. When I look at this year, 64 balls is the longest I’ve spent in the middle, during those one-day games. For me, that’s important. I find a lot of rhythm out in the middle.”
“You can bat as much as you want in the nets but there’s nothing that can replicate what a game can do, so that for me is what I’m searching for at the moment. That can be tough to do, particularly in a Test match when you’ve got some quality bowlers.” Steve Smith added.