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Smith mulls approach for Ranchi’s ‘never seen before’ mud pitch

By Rob Forsaith,

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    Skipper Steve Smith won’t be afraid to adopt a “French cricket” mindset in Australia’s third Test against India, should the Ranchi pitch demand it.

    Smith failed to fire with the bat in Australia’s 75-run loss in Bangalore, where the hosts levelled the four-Test series.

    The 27-year-old is comfortably the side’s best batsman and has a knack of scoring freely.

    But his first innings in Bangalore was an uncharacteristic struggle, with the right-hander scoring eight off 52 balls.

    Smith says India pacemen Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav and a pitch playing plenty of tricks forced him to take a defensive approach.

    “It was just so difficult to score, against the quicks in particular,” Smith said.

    “I was always afraid of the one shooting low like in the second innings (when Smith was trapped lbw by an unplayable delivery that hardly bounced).

    “It was about trying to almost play French cricket. If the ball was on my stumps, try and cover that as well as I could.

    “It (not scoring) was a credit to the Indian quicks, I thought they bowled very well. Their line and lengths were spectacular really throughout the whole match.”

    The surface in Ranchi is expected to be consistently slow and low, without the variable bounce on offer in the second Test.

    “It will shoot quite low …I’ve never seen a wicket that’s looked quite as dark as that one is. It looks like there’s mud sort of rolled together,” Smith said.

    “Guys just have to adapt and play according to what the wicket entails.

    “It’s about summing up the best way to play and try and get as many runs as we can to build the first innings.”

    The dry deck won’t suit Pat Cummins, who is set to play his first Test since 2001, but Smith backed the express paceman to trouble India’s batsmen.

    “He’s got some good variations. Watching him bowl yesterday, he bowled these cutters on the wicket and they were actually ragging,” Smith said.

    “He’s got some good skills … the extra pace is always nice.”

    Smith added every member of the attack would need to step up and fill he void left by injured spearhead Mitchell Starc, who has returned home with a foot injury.

    “When you lose someone of the class and calibre of Mitchell Starc, it’s always difficult,” he said.

    “But we’re confident the rest of the bowling group can do the job to take 20 wickets.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • March 16th 2017 @ 9:32am
      BrainsTrust said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

      I have never heard of this one before, a dark pitch, this has been an incredible series of pitches so far.
      The only sort of pitch that is going to faze Steve Smith is a normal one, another bomb site will give him hope.

    • March 16th 2017 @ 10:23am
      Thunder Nation said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

      India should be suspended from cricket for producing this mud pitch

      An absolute outrage!

      This test will go for 2 days

      • March 16th 2017 @ 9:23pm
        John Erichsen said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

        Surprisingly, the pitch is playing far better than it was expected to. No deliveries broke through the pitch surface in the first session, so it miles ahead of the first two test pitches.

    • March 16th 2017 @ 11:21am
      Jacko said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

      Aus lost so it must have been the pitch or the opposition sledged us so we cried. So sick of these EXCUSE articles. So far I’ve watched 2 good tests on standard Indian wickets. Hopefully there is 2 more good tests on 2 more standard Indian wickets

      • March 16th 2017 @ 12:56pm
        soapit said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

        you cant have watched them too closely to not notice aus won 1 of them

      • March 16th 2017 @ 2:20pm
        Rossy said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

        Jacko you are an absolutely delusional human and your instability is showing in your comments in the cricket threads of late.

        The Pune pitch was rated ‘poor’ by the ICC yet Australia won – how is that blaming the pitch?

        Australia were in position to win the second test but couldn’t finish it off – how is that blaming the pitch?

        Absolute drongo.

    • Roar Guru

      March 16th 2017 @ 11:49am
      Paul D said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

      It is the same pitch for both sides. It’s not like India get a featherbed to bat on when they bat. Bit over this whinging about pitches before a ball is even bowled just because it looks different. Just get on with it

      • March 16th 2017 @ 2:22pm
        Rossy said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

        How is it whinging? Isn’t it just pointing out the quality of the pitch (there is reporting around the pitch before EVERY test match?)

        The independent ICC has ranked the pitches below par so far, is this Australia’s whinging or does it show yes there is an issue in the preparation here?

        Is criticism not allowed anymore, shall the articles offer purely positive assessments of conditions only?

    • March 16th 2017 @ 1:18pm
      Tanmoy Kar said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

      This is the first Test match to be held in Ranchi, average total of ODIs here are 250+, hence it can not be said poor pitch. Of course not only Smith every batsman has to play carefully to score a big one, the pitch will not be like the Australian roads.

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