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Intrigued to see how Bazball fares against our bowlers: Steven Smith

Last updated on 09 Jun 2023 | 04:01 AM
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Intrigued to see how Bazball fares against our bowlers: Steven Smith

The Australia batter smashed his 31st Test ton on Day Two of the WTC final against India to put his side in command

Steven Smith reached his 31st Test ton with two boundaries off the first over of Day Two against India in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval. Only Steve Waugh (32) and Ricky Ponting (41) have more tons for Australia in Test cricket. 

Smith remained unbeaten on 95 overnight and two boundaries of Mohammed Siraj took him to the milestone. The batter said he could not have asked for better deliveries to get to a hundred early in the day.

"I think when I first started this morning I couldn't ask for anything more than two half volleys on my pad to get me going. That was nice to get over that milestone," Smith said at the press conference after Day Two.

"But, no, I was proud of the way I played. I thought I applied myself nicely. Left well yesterday morning. Hit the balls in my area and yeah it was pretty solid in defense. So yeah, felt good out there. Obviously a really good partnership with Trav [Travis Head] who batted beautifully in that middle session yesterday. 

"I thought the way he took the game on, put the pressure back on their bowlers, got them off their lengths, which I think helped me at the other end as well. Yeah, set us up for a nice innings."

Australia managed to get rid of India's top four quite easily. In fact none of the batters crossed 15. Smith believes the key to that was bowling the right lengths and trying to hit the top of the wickets.

"The length at off stump I think is important. We've obviously seen a bit of variable bounce and some seam movement. So if we're challenging the top of the stumps as much as possible, I think that's the quickest way home," Smith explained. 

"You can certainly get the outside edge from there if it seams away and bounces or takes off, which a couple have. And then pads and stumps are in play with the ones that shoot low or seam back. So it's about as simple as we need to keep it, I think."

With the Ashes just around the corner, Smith is also keen to see how England's latest attacking brand of cricket fares against his sides' bowlers, but at the same time, acknowledges that he has enjoyed watching this approach.

"I think I said it initially when Bazball started that I'm intrigued to see how it goes against our bowlers," Smith said.

"I've said that all along. So, you know, they've obviously done well against some other attacks, but they haven't come up against us yet. So, we'll see. It's obviously been exciting to watch. I must say I've enjoyed watching the way they've played and the way that I guess they've turned things around in the last 12 months or so but it's yeah we'll wait and see how it comes off against us."

It was a long, hard day for the fast bowlers on Day One, but on Day Two, they were able to make inroads quickly, bowling Australia out for 469 after they started the day on 327 for 3. India pacer Mohammed Siraj, who finished with figures of 4 for 108,  believes patience is the key to success.

"Last year, I was in the WTC squad. I kept patience. This year also I am playing. Patience is the key for success. I will say that patience is very important in life. In Test cricket, you will only get wickets if you keep patient. If you are not patient, you will give away runs. And then you cannot build up the pressure on the opposition team. Patience is very important as a bowler," Siraj said.

Despite letting Australia put on 469 on the board after having them in a spot of bother at 76 for 3, Siraj reckons that his side bowled well.

"We also bowled very well. Especially, the way Travis Head attacked, we had to automatically move the line back.  We also bowled very well. Yesterday it was 327 - So today if we hadn’t bowled well then maybe there would be 500-550 runs on the board. So, we also bowled very well," Siraj said.

India are now in a spot of bother, having been reduced to 151 for 5 at stumps on Day Two. They still have Ajinkya Rahane (29*) and KS Bharat (5*) at the crease and will need a mammoth partnership from them to rescue their side. The Australian bowlers will have their tails up on Day Three and look to take a substantial lead, which will take them closer to winning the game.

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