NEWS in brief

Problem-solver Smith seeks quick acclimatisation to Gabba bounce

19 November, 2019 12:00 AM printer

In the recently-concluded Ashes in England, Steven Smith broke one record after another and ended up with 774 runs at an astounding average of 110.57, reports Cricbuzz.

However, after his great run of form in the Ashes, Smith didn’t have the best of starts to the home summer, finishing with scores of 0 and 21 versus Queensland at the Gabba in the Sheffield Shield. He then went on to compile a couple of tons against Tasmania and Western Australia, albeit on the slower tracks of Sydney. With the first Test of the series versus Pakistan set to be played on a pacy Gabba track, Smith said that he will once again go through the rigour of intense net sessions at Allan Border Field in order to adjust to the extra bounce on offer.

“I’m feeling good,” Smith said. “I probably just have to try and get used to the bounce of the wicket again at the Gabba. It’s probably a little bit different to the last two Shield games I’ve played at Drummoyne and SCG, where they’ve been pretty benign wickets.

“I don’t think I had a slip in basically for the whole time I batted at Drummoyne and the SCG. I just found it hard scoring. There was no slip, there was a ring field, the square was pretty dead, and the wicket was pretty dead. There was a couple of times I hit and got it in the gap and thought ‘that’s runs. So I couldn’t get them away, but it’s nice to spend some time in the middle all the same.

 

“For me, the next few days is about getting used to the bounce at the Gabba and practicing leaving (the ball) well, and just being patient again. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of that work in, and be good to go on Thursday,” he added.

 

Smith is also bracing up to the challenge of facing Pakistan’s skilful pace attack. Mohammad Abbas is renowned for his control and the ability to extract subtle seam movement, capsulised by his impressive Test average of 18.86. Pakistan also possess the young and promising pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Muhammad Musa and Naseem Shah.

 

“I’ve never faced Abbas...he stands the seam up, any sort of movement he’ll get the most out of it,” Smith said. “And it looks like Shah bowls with some good pace. Being as young as he is, he probably hasn’t bowled lots of overs consistently so it’ll be about making him come back and bowl as many spells as he can and see if he can maintain it.”

 

The first Test of the series will be played at the Gabba, starting on Thursday (November 21). The second and final Test of the rubber will be held in Adelaide from November 29 to December 3.


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