Champion Australian batsman Steve Smith has said that the Indian bowling-unit sans veteran pacer Ishant Sharma might not be at their strongest but the home side will still be wary of the threat that the likes of Mohammed Shami and especially Jasprit Bumrah will bring to the table.
Jasprit Bumrah was the major thorn in the flesh for Australia last time around and just three batsmen from that squad have the experience of facing him. Steve Smith has come up against Jasprit Bumrah on a lot of occasions in white-ball cricket but the upcoming rubber will be the first instance of the duo locking horns in the longest and hardest format of the game.
And, Smith, who averages a ridiculous 84 in 10 Tests against India is looking forward to the challenge of facing Bumrah.
“I don`t know if I will do anything specific but yeah (this will be the) first time I will have face him in long form cricket. But I think his skill sets won`t probably change too much. We know how he bowls. He has got a good pace. He has got that awkward action, very different to lot of people. You got to be pretty watchful all the time and he is a quality bowler,” Steve Smith said in the virtual press-conference.
“I am excited at coming up against him in this series. You like coming up against the best and he is certainly up there with them,” he added.
‘Ishant Sharma is probably a big loss for them’- Steve Smith
Smith heaped high praise on the Indian bowling group but added that the third pacer in the absence of Ishant Sharma might prove to be a weak link; something that the Aussies will look to exploit to the hilt.
“They are a good line-up. Pretty experienced. Shami has played a lot of cricket, Bumrah has played a reasonable amount of cricket. He is a quality bowler. Whichever spinner they use, (Ravichandran)Ashwin or (Ravindra) Jadeja or Kuldeep (Yadav), I am not sure – we`ll wait and see, but they`ve all played a fair bit of cricket now,” said Steve Smith.
“Their third quick hasn`t played as much cricket whoever they go with there. They are all good bowlers and yeah, we are going to be at our best as a batting group. This summer, we are going to beat them,” he added.
“Ishant Sharma is probably a big loss for them. He has obviously played a lot of cricket now and he is a good bowler. So yeah, maybe without him, their bowling attack may not be their strongest. I am sure they would have loved him to play,” he added.
The first Test of the much-awaited Border-Gavaskar Trophy will take place at the Adelaide Oval on December 17.