Australian batting mainstay Steve Smith on Tuesday (29 December 2020) conceded that he has let seasoned Indian offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin dictate terms in their duels so far, something that "I've probably never let any spinner do in my career."
Smith has been enduring a horror run in the ongoing Test series against India, failing to play any knock of significance so far.
The series is currently level at 1-1 after India secured an eight-wicket triumph in the second game on Tuesday.
"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," Smith told SEN Radio about his struggles against Ashwin, who dismissed him for a nought in the first innings of the just-concluded game.
"I've sort of let him dictate terms and that's something I've probably never let any spinner do in my career. I've sort of taken it to them, been a bit more aggressive and made them change things," he lamented.
Ashwin, on his part, said he understands Smith's importance in the Australian line-up and plans thoroughly for him.
"Coming down to Australia and if you cannot get Steven Smith out, it is always going to be an uphill task," he told Channel 7.
"He pretty much holds the batting line-up together."
The 31-year-old Smith said he is desperate to stay at the crease for a long innings, which has not been happening for him this year.
"It's kind of a two-edged sword in a way, but I think I've just got to have the confidence to take it on and play my game," said Smith.
"At the moment I'm searching for time in the middle; that's the most important thing for me. 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."
But he acknowledged that it won't be easy for him given that the Indian bowling attack has been relentlessly accurate.
"That can be tough to do, particularly in a Test match when you've got some quality bowlers."