'Let it go and move on,' Smith's advice to India

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22 Dec 2020 | 05:26 AM
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'Let it go and move on,' Smith's advice to India

Australia won the first Test by eight wickets and the series will now move to Melbourne for the Boxing Day

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Australian batting star Steven Smith has no time to think about how India might plot revenge in the second Test this weekend but he does have a word of advice for the visitors jolted by the first game's battering -- "Let it go and move on". The Australian troika of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood produced one of the finest fast bowling performances in recent times to dismiss India for their lowest Test score of 36 in the opening day-night Test.

Australia won the first Test by eight wickets and the series will now move to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test starting December 26. "Look, the other day we just saw some pretty incredible fast bowling. It is probably the best I've seen our bowlers bowl collectively for about five years I think," Smith said in a virtual media conference facilitated by series' official broadcaster Sony Network.

"The lengths they were hitting were just impeccable. Sometimes that happens, you get a good ball and you nick it...You got to let it go and move on and try and keep yourself in a positive mindset," the 31-year-old added.

Asked what he feels would be the Indian mindset after such a huge defeat, he said: "Again every individual is different, the way they take their dismissals, how they think about the game after it's finished. 

"It's important to keep moving forward, look at yourself individually, what you could have done better."

Star pacer Mohammed Shami's fractured wrist has dealt a double blow to India as talismanic skipper Virat Kohli will be on paternity during the last three Tests. "Not thinking too much about India and how they're going to come back. For us, it's just about doing the things we need to do well. It's about just executing what we need to do out in the middle and doing it to the best of our ability," Smith said.

On Shami's absence, Smith said India still have some quality bowlers in Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj. "I think they're two quality bowlers who can have some good Test careers. Obviously they are missing Ishant (Sharma) as well, which is a big loss for them in terms of experience."

Smith was out for one, deceived by a beautiful Ravichandran Ashwin delivery, in the opening Test and asserted that he has learnt his lessons. "The spinners that do well here generally those who get over the top of the ball and beat you with more bounce or in the air as opposed to ones that come around the ball.

"It's about finding a way to adapt and that's what the best players do around the world. I'll hopefully learn something from that, move forward and play a little bit better in the next game," he explained.

On the next match, the star batsman said he gets shivers down the spine from the thrill of batting in a Boxing Day Test. Since his first Boxing Day Test appearance in the Ashes 2010-11, the talismanic batsman has smashed four centuries -- three of them unbeaten -- and three fifties in seven such games.

"I always remember watching the Boxing Day Tests at home and with the family after Christmas. It's sort of like a dream-come-true moment in a way. As a kid, I always wanted to play in a Boxing Day Test match," Smith said.

"There's nothing like the thrill and you get the shivers down your spine, and the hairs on the back of your neck rise up when you walk out to bat on Boxing Day with the crowd yelling," added the player , who averages an astonishing 113.50 at MCG.

"I like batting at the MCG on those sort of big occasions. I'd like to try and make the most of them."

Smith further hoped his home turf Sydney will be able to host the New Year Test as planned despite a spike in COVID-19 cases of late. "I think everyone's preference here would be to play in Sydney. Personally I'd love Sydney to happen, I love playing at the SCG, it's my home ground, but we will always be guided by experts," he concluded.

'Credit to Kohli for taking paternity leave'

Kohli will head home on Tuesday for the birth of his first child next month with actor wife Anushka Sharma. The next Test is in Melbourne from December 26. "Obviously, it's a big loss for India, not having him for the rest of the series. We just have to look at the way he played in the first innings. That was a pretty class display against some good bowling on a wicket that was doing a bit," Smith told reporters during a virtual press conference facilitated by the series' official broadcaster Sony Network.

"I just fist-pumped him at the end (of first Test) and said 'Mate safe travels, hope everything goes well with the baby, and pass on my best to your wife.' That was about it," Smith said.

"I'm sure there would have been a lot of pressure for him to stay but to stand up and want to go home for for the birth of his first child, it's a credit for him. It's a milestone that he certainly wouldn't want to miss."

Kohli's 74 was the highest score by any batsman on either side in the first innings of the pink-ball day/night Test while Smith was out for 1. Smith was also asked about legendary Australian spinner Shane Warne's view that red ball is "pathetic" and pink ball should replace it in all Tests. He disagreed with the idea.

"Personally I'd like to keep red-ball cricket alive. I think one series or something like that is a good amount. We've seen in Adelaide for instance it's worked exceptionally well, it's a great spectacle. We played some really good day/night games.

"But I think overall, I'd like to personally play red ball cricket a lot," Smith said.

Chappell makes outlandish statements after every match: Smith

Smith has termed former captain Ian Chappell's comments advocating protection of tailenders from short-pitched deliveries as "outlandish", saying short balls are a part of the game.

Chappell, one of the finest experts of the game, rejected banning bouncers altogether but had talked about strengthening laws regarding the protection of lower-order batsmen in the light of a series of blows to head and concussion-related incidents.

But Smith does not agree with the suggestion.

"It seems like Ian Chappell has an outlandish statement after every match at the moment," Smith told 'SEN Mornings'.

"From my point of view, short balls are part of the game. We've seen over the years there's been some really good battles and I don't think it should be outlawed at all."

Smith insisted he has no issue with the quicks bowling short to lower-order batsmen.

"Yep, no dramas from me," he added.

The run-up to the Test series between India and Australia was marred by a series of blows to head and concussion-related substitutes, reviving the debate around the use of bouncers by fast bowlers.

While rejecting a complete ban, Chappell had said that time was ripe for a worldwide review into on-field safety and strengthen laws regarding the protection of tailenders in facing short-pitched bowling.

Chappell, a former Australia captain, had earlier suggested switch-hitting, a skill that some of the Australians played well, was an "unfair" tactic.

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Steven Peter Devereux SmithIndia tour of Australia, 2020/21Australia vs India

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