Steve Smith, who will lead Australia in the third Test against India in Pat Cummins’ absence, reflected on the learnings acquired after defeats in the first two Tests.
Australia will face India in Indore in the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar trophy scheduled to begin on March 1.
Australia, the top-ranked side in the ICC Test Rankings and the ongoing ICC World Test Championship 2023 points table, has struggled on the current India tour, suffering heavy defeats in the first two Tests.
The underperforming batting efforts have been at the heart of their troubles, none more so than the second innings collapse in the second Test in Delhi, as they went from 85/2 to 113 all-out.
The collapse began with Steve Smith’s dismissal when he was caught leg-before by Ravichandran Ashwin while attempting a flamboyant sweep, a stroke that led to the removal of several Australian batters later in the hour.
And Smith, the second-ranked batter in the ICC Test Rankings currently, has expressed his disappointment at the dismissal.
“I’ve played, what, 95 Test matches (94) and I don’t think there’s been too many times I’ve walked off the field and I’ve gone, ‘what the hell am I doing?'” Smith told reporters on Tuesday.
“I was pretty angry. There hasn’t been too many times in my career where I’ve actually come off and just been bedazzled by what I’ve done. It wasn’t my finest moment. Certainly, something to learn from, I’m still learning as well. It wasn’t the way I wanted to play, particularly when I had the field set for all of us – they had the field out,” said the Australia captain.
Smith conceded that the visitors faltered as a result of their hasty approach, something he plans to remedy in the remaining two Tests.
“We probably just rushed things a little bit and it’s something we’ll talk about …when we’ve got them on the ropes, we can slow things down. We don’t have to play at such a high tempo and risky tempo. Because we had them where we wanted them, we had men out and the ability to get off strike. We just rushed it. We’ve got to learn to adapt a little bit better,” he added.
Smith, who has guided Australia to 20 wins from 36 Tests as captain to date, will take over as captain for the third Test in Indore, which begins on Wednesday, March 1, with usual skipper Pat Cummins having returned back home for personal reasons.
The 33-year-old boasts an exemplary batting record as captain, with 3793 runs at 67.73 with 15 hundreds, three of which came on his last Test trip to India in 2017.
Encouraged by his success in the past, Smith is hopeful that the leadership role can help him regain his form with the bat, with him having registered scores of 37, 25*, 0 and 9 in the series thus far.
“It normally brings the best out of me. I’m excited about leading this week in Pat’s absence,” he said of the captaincy.
“I know these conditions well. It’s kind of like my second home playing over here, I’ve played a lot in India, I understand the intricacies of the game and what the wickets are likely to do. I’m looking forward to it,” Smith said. (ANI)