Give me the ball: Smith

By Ben Horne,

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    Steve Smith says he’s eager to contribute more with the ball, even though shelving his leg-spinners was essential in his comeback to Test cricket.

    Smith’s stunning haul of 3-18 in the second Test at Lord’s was a throwback to his debut at the same ground in 2010, when he was picked as Australia’s frontline spinner against Pakistan.

    His ripping leg-break to dismiss England centurion Ian Bell on day one, showed exactly why new coach Darren Lehmann wants his No.6 batsman rolling the arm over again.

    Smith says bowling helps his confidence as a player and now he’s settled in the team again, he’s ready to answer the call.

    He put his brilliant spell against England down to a quad injury that had stopped him bowling in the lead-up.

    “I haven’t been able to bowl for a week and a half in the nets because of a quad injury so I was nice and fresh and it came out naturally. It worked for me,” he said.

    “I really enjoy bowling when I am bowling well. I probably put a bit too much pressure on myself when I’m not.

    “That’s why I guess having a week and a half off bowling and just coming out and being natural has been good for me.

    “I probably wasn’t ever an actual spinner. I was lucky to get that role at that time.

    “I’ve always seen myself as more of a batter than a bowler.”

    Smith has shown tremendous improvement with the bat over the past 12 months, and the 24-year-old says he couldn’t have tightened up his technique if he was still trying to make it as an allrounder.

    “I thought it was (necessary to shelve bowling) and I guess it kind of has paid off at the moment,” he said.

    “I’m batting in the top six and I feel like I’m batting pretty well. Hopefully a big score is just around the corner. Out here would be nice.”

    Lehmann’s advice to Smith has been to attack the stumps, while legspinning great Shane Warne has told him to try to get his bowling shoulder higher and “spin hard.”

    Smith said his ball to get rid of Bell was the best he’s bowled.

    “That’s probably the best spinner you can bowl as a leg-spinner, that little nick to slip. It would be nice to replicate that a few times,” he said.

    As it stands Smith averages 11.5 at Lord’s, with six of his seven wickets coming at the venue.

    © AAP 2018

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