‘Pakistan didn’t really spin much. In India, you have to be ahead of the game, think on your feet and make changes constantly to try and make things happen’
Steve Smith, who filled in for full-time captain Pat Cummins while he was attending to his ailing mother back home, led Australia to a memorable nine-wicket win in the third Test against India in Indore on Friday.
Australia’s batting mainstay, who was their skipper in the previous tour back in 2017, also prefers playing on spin-friendly tracks rather than placid wickets that takes the game to full five days.
Reflecting on the win in the most challenging of circumstances, Smith said he could not be more proud of his team, which fought back after losing the first two Tests inside three days.
Prefer to play on these wickets than flat tracks
Pitches have become a subject of intense debate in the four-match series with former players criticising the rank turner at Holkar Stadium. However, Smith is not perturbed by that and loves the challenge.
“All the wickets have spun, haven’t they? We haven’t got three days yet. That shows there has been spin from day one in all Tests. I prefer to play on these wickets than a genuine flat one that goes five days and… it can be boring in stages.”
“There’s always something happening on these wickets. You got to really work hard for your runs but guys have shown they can do it. Usman in the first innings, Pujara, Rohit in Nagpur, Axar throughout, Handscomb… so guys can do it and you also need some luck.”
“With this one, yeah, whether it might have been a little bit too extreme potentially from the first ball, I’m not entirely sure but it was still an enjoyable Test,” said Smith, referring to the Indore pitch.
‘Pakistan didn’t really spin much’
Australia toured Pakistan for the first time in 24 years and ended up winning the three-Test series 1-0. The flat wickets came in for harsh criticism during the series last year. Smith said playing in India and Pakistan is a different ball game.
“The styles of play here and in Pakistan are very different. Pakistan didn’t really spin much. You had to play the waiting game a lot in Pakistan. In India, you have to be ahead of the game, think on your feet and make changes constantly to try and make things happen.”
“I spoke to the spinners on the morning of Day 1 that they have to take our egos out of play. For them, the pitch is spinning and they want to be bowling.”
“But we have got three of you. If I take you off, it doesn’t mean you are bowling badly.”
“It’s just that someone else may be able to do a better job at that point of time. When you have got three spinners, you have to work them that way and keep them as fresh as possible. I was pleased with the way I handled that,” added Smith.
- AUSTRALIA IN INDIA, 2023
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