Australia's assistant coach Andrew McDonald has said that the Australian team management is working with Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne to combat India's strategy of bowling with a packed leg-side field. McDonald indicated that the two batsmen have been left a bit confused with India's field placements in the ongoing Test series.
Smith has struggled in the Test series and has only managed ten runs in four innings. McDonald believes that the two key batsmen (Smith & Labuschagne) will have to develop a method to score runs against India's cunning tactics. Speaking at a press conference, McDonald said:
"The question for me at the moment is the tactical way India have prepared and have been able to control those two players, especially with a sort of leg-side theory so to speak. So I suppose those two players will have to come out with a better method. I don't think it has to do anything technically. They are technically in a good space, but it is the method to score runs and how they are going to combat these tactics from India bowlers and captains, that has been discussed in our conversation,"
Australia did a net session on what was supposed to be the fifth day of the Melbourne Test, and McDonald said that the two batsmen are working in the nets to combat India's strategy. He further said:
"Their(India's) tactics change suddenly. Sometimes they go out with two men out, sometimes they out with leg gully, sometimes they go with box mid-wicket, the bat-pad moves around with the angle. We are backing Smith and Labuschagne to read that," he added.
While India have been able to counter Steve Smith, the rest of the Aussie batsmen have struggled to get going. They also went on to create an unwanted record in the Melbourne Test. It was the first time since 1988 that not even a single Australian player managed to score a half-century in a home Test match.
Steve Smith's record against India in Tests
Not many expected Steve Smith to struggle in the ongoing Test series against India. Especially, after the way he smashed two 62-ball centuries in the ODIs which the home team won 2-1.
The 31-year-old averaged over 80 against India in Tests before the start of the series. However, after four bad innings in two tests, Smith's average has come down to 71.95 in 12 Tests against the Men in Blue.
It will be interesting to see how Smith will go about his business from the Third Test onwards when Indian bowlers target him with a similar strategy. Top players often show their class when faced with adversity, and so far, Steve Smith has overcome most challenges in his career with flying colours.Published 31 Dec 2020, 16:25 IST