Smith effusive in his praise for gritty Aus tail-enders

Smith effusive in his praise for gritty Aus tail-enders

If it was captain Michael Clarke who tormented India with an aggregate of 626 runs during India’s tour Down Under in 2011-12, this time it’s the turn of Steven Smith, who is standing-in for the injured skipper.

Indian bowlers don’t seem to have any trick up their sleeve for the 25-year-old who has been scoring tons for fun. The right-hander has three centuries in as many matches, only the second Australian to do so after Matthew Hayden whose feat also came against India. He is only the fifth batsman to get centuries in the first two Tests as captain and his tally of 567 runs for the series so far, is already frightening. What’s worse, the visitors have been able dismiss him only twice, including a run-out in the second Test.       

“Started pretty slow yesterday (Friday), didn’t I?” said Smith about his approach to batting in the first innings of the Boxing Day Test. “It was just about being patient and then bowlers keep coming back and getting wide… I think we have been able to do that and get rewarded yesterday and today as well. I felt pretty good at the crease and things are working well for me which is nice and I think the most pleasing thing about it is that we got 530 runs on the board. I think that’s a very good first innings total for us,” he elaborated. 

Smith missed out by eight runs in what could have been his maiden double Test century but the batsman was least bothered about the milestone. “I was trying to get as many runs as I could for the team towards the end, so got out playing a pretty silly shot. I was just trying to find a boundary and it didn’t work out. It was pretty fun to be honest, batting in general. It was nice to play a few shots towards the end and I tried to take the total as far as we could. It was good fun.” Smith was also quite impressed with his lower-order batsmen.

“I think our guys have done terrific to be honest,” he said about tail-enders scoring the bulk of runs on Saturday. “They came out and took the bowlers on. Mitch Johnson today looked good again and Ryan Harris came out and batted beautifully. I don’t think they (Indian bowlers) had an answer for us. I’m glad that out tail can come out and do that for us and be really aggressive.”

Smith hoped David Warner would be fit by Sunday morning. The opener was left sore after getting hit on his right forearm during Saturday morning’s practice. “He has got a bit of bruised arm and struggling to clench his fist. Hopefully, he will have good sleep and get better in the morning and come and field.”

Mitchell Marsh, meanwhile, has been ruled out of the final Test in Sydney as well. The all-rounder was excluded from the third Test after he failed to recover from his hamstring, sustained in the second Test in Brisbane.

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