Took leg-stump guard, changed to top-hand grip and got results: Steve Smith

On Wednesday, the 34-year-old smashed nine fours and a maximum on way to a solid 68-ball 71 and forged a 132-run partnership with David Warner (104) to lay the foundation of Australia's mammoth 399-8.
Last Updated : 26 October 2023, 06:01 IST
Last Updated : 26 October 2023, 06:01 IST

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New Delhi: Taking the traditional leg-stump guard and tweaking his grip from bottom to a top-handed one went a long way in Steve Smith regaining his form after a mini-slump in the ongoing World Cup.

On Wednesday, the 34-year-old smashed nine fours and a maximum on way to a solid 68-ball 71 and forged a 132-run partnership with David Warner (104) to lay the foundation of Australia's mammoth 399-8.

Smith said he worked on a "couple of things" during the net sessions on Tuesday.

"I moved back to leg stump a little bit. I got my hands a little bit higher than what they've been for the last week. For some reason, they've dropped down a bit. I just felt it in the nets yesterday and everything sort of clicked back into place again," he said after Australia beat the Netherlands by a record 309 runs.

"I felt like I was batting well a couple of weeks back against India. I thought I was actually getting back through the ball nicely on a pretty tough surface and and playing well and then for a week kind of lost it for a bit."

Smith made a good start to the tournament with a 46 against India on a tricky pitch in Chennai but then followed it up with scores of 19, 0 and 7 in the next three matches.

"I got a couple of nice balls, I suppose the one that swung back and got me out, and (Kagiso) Rabada's, which was a little questionable. I felt like I've been batting really well. I just needed to get the feel again and batting yesterday at the nets straight away I had a smile on my face at the back end."

"I felt good and took that into today and felt nice. I thought I was getting good positions today and yeah, hopefully that continues."

Smith looked good to get a hundred before he was stopped at 71 off 68 with Roelof van der Merwe holding on to a sharp catch at backward point.

"Yeah, it (hundred) would have been nice. I felt I was batting well. It was a nice partnership obviously with David and were able to set it up for the guys to have a smack at the back end and get us up near 400 so," he said.

"It would have been nice to kick on for a little bit longer and have a bit of fun, but yeah, it was a it was a nice platform that we were able to set." India and South Africa are currently positioned at the number one and two spots in points table.

"I think both of those sides are playing really good cricket. South Africa batting is kind of structured similarly to what we did, this sort of game the way we played. They're trusting kind of their top five batters to go out and build a platform and then guys like Klassen and Miller to smack it at the back end."

"So they've done it well, obviously played on some nice surfaces as well with one here. And then India I think, yeah, they're obviously the favourites at the moment. I think in the tournament they're playing at home, they're playing really well and they're a good side."

Glenn Maxwell stole the thunder on Wednesday after smashing the fastest ODI World Cup hundred, reaching the milestone in just 40 balls to power the Netherlands to 399 for 8.

"Incredible, wasn't it? Some seriously good shots there," he said.

"We have seen Maxi (Maxwell) play for some time and now he's capable of those kind of things. Some of those shots were extra ordinary, so tremendous to watch. It was an pretty incredible effort."

The 2023 World Cup has witnessed some high-scoring games with six 350 plus totals posted so far led by South Africa.

"It's always wicket-dependent. To try and get 400 on the pitch we played on in Chennai in the first match against India would be unrealistic – probably would have been bowled out at 150. So we have to assess the conditions," he said.

Australia will face New Zealand in their next match on October 28.

Published 26 October 2023, 06:01 IST

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