Faster footwork along with the tactic of attacking Ravichandran Ashwin straightaway worked wonders for him during his first century on home soil in three years, Australian batsman Steve Smith said on Friday (8 January 2020).
Having just managed to score only 10 runs in the first Two Tests, Smith roared back to form as his 131, single-handedly steered Australia to 338, their first innings total, despite a middle-order failure.
"I decided to be a bit more positive. I think early on, I hit him over his head, just put a bit of pressure on him so that he bowls where I wanted him to bowl. It was a concerted effort to do that and I was happy with the way I played him," Smith said during virtual press conference.
Smith also said that he did not change his technique against the fast bowlers but was "just being faster on his feet particularly against the spin".
"In this game, I was probably a little more aggressive early and tried to put it back on the bowler a little bit more.
"I got off to a nice start, I was almost run-a-ball 20. So (I) got myself going and got into my innings and then you just have to play the game, absorb pressure when you need to, put pressure on when you need to and I did that pretty well in this innings," he added.
The sarcasm wasn't lost on anyone when he said that it was nice to be back in form even though he had scored two 60-odd ball hundreds in the ODIs.
"...I have read a lot of things as I think I have said numerous time and plenty of people said I was out of form, so it was nice to come back I guess in the form, if that's what you want to call it," Smith said.
"It was only two or three weeks ago when I scored two hundreds at the SCG. It kind of makes me laugh sometimes when people say that kind of things," the anger was palpable.
"(I) missed out on the first two Test matches obviously, come-back today and scored some few runs and help I guess put us in a decent position, the 31-year-old added.
According to Smith, the total put up by Australia is a decent one, though they would have liked to score a few more runs.
"I think it's a decent total. It would have been nice to score a few more. You always want more. It's a bit up and down the wicket.
"The boys bowled pretty well this evening and if continue to bowl really disciplined tomorrow, I think we are going to get some opportunities, could have easily been three or four tonight the way that the boys went about it, but I think we are in good place, start well in the morning and build some pressure and see how it goes," he said.
Smith also said it was always a special feeling to score hundreds at the Sydney Cricket Ground, his home-turf.
"Always special. I love playing here at the SCG. It's a great place to bat. My homeground and I think my mum and dad were here so they were able to see that.
"Just proud to get three figures on the board and just spend some time out in the middle and help us post a decent score. It would have been nice for us to score a few more but we've still got some runs on the board on wicket that is little-bit bit up and down," he added.
Australia would like to play at the Gabba, says Smith despite lockdown
Australia "would like to play" the fourth and final Test against India in Brisbane, Smith said even as Queensland entered into a three-day coronavirus-forced lockdown casting fresh doubts on the fate of the match.
The lockdown was announced less than 24 hours after top cricket board officials from India and Australia were engaged in a discussion on relaxation of hard quarantine measures for the visitors.
Smith said nothing changes for them as players.
"To my knowledge, not anything is changed from our point of view, we will wait and see and that is not our decision to make, we are the players and we go where we are told and do what we need to do, but we would like to play at the Gabba for sure," Smith said.
Brisbane, Queensland's capital city, is scheduled to host the match from January 15, eight days after the state imposed the lockdown after a hotel quarantine worker was detected with the highly transmissible UK strain of COVID-19.
Smith's views came a day after the BCCI sought relaxation in Brisbane's hard quarantine protocol.
In a letter to Cricket Australia, the BCCI reminded the host board that the visitors are done with the strict isolation that was agreed upon at the beginning of the tour.
While Cricket Australia were ready to allow a capacity crowd of 36,000, the fluid health situation might warrant a change in the spectator policy.
Queensland has mandated institutional quarantine of seven days for those travelling from declared hotpsots like Greater Sydney in New South Wales.
The quarantine rules in Brisbane will restrict the players to just their hotel rooms after day's play.
CA has verbally assured the Indians that "a deal" has been "signed off on by the Queensland government to allow players and staff out of their rooms to mingle together inside the hotel when not playing or training will remain in place for their week in the city."
However, it is learnt that BCCI wants a written assurance on the matter.
In case, Brisbane can't host the Test or Indians refuse to travel, Sydney will be the backup venue.