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Ashwin and Steve Smith are a big matchup, claims Glenn McGrath ahead of Sydney Test

Steve Smith has struggled against India
Steve Smith has struggled against India
Wasiq Agha
Modified 07 Jan 2021, 04:16 IST

Glenn McGrath has praised Ravichandran Ashwin for getting the better of Steve Smith multiple times in the first two Tests. He also predicted that the Ashwin-Smith battle is going to be a big matchup in the Sydney Test.

The former fast bowler, who has 563 Test wickets to his name, talked about Steve Smith’s recent struggles against India. Notably, Smith has found it tough to score runs in the first two Tests, and accumulated only 10 runs across 4 innings.  

Speaking to the media ahead of the 3rd India vs Australia Test, Glenn McGrath explained how the battle between Steve Smith and Ravichandran Ashwin could decide the Sydney Test. .

“It’s going to be interesting. I think Ashwin has bowled incredibly well this series. He’s doing well against Australian batsmen and they haven’t really come up with an answer against him. Steve Smith has got out a couple of times against him. So I think it’s a big matchup, Ashwin and Smith."

Steve Smith has struggled to read Ashwin this series. The Australian had earlier accepted his struggles against the off-spinner, conceding that he hasn’t played Ashwin as well as he would have liked.

Glenn McGrath hopes Steve Smith can recover at Sydney

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin

Glenn McGrath pointed out that Smith’s struggles are surprising, particularly after he hit the ground running against India by scoring 2 hundreds in the first 2 ODIs in November.

“It’s been unusual to see Steve Smith not have an impact in this series to date, especially with the way he started in the one-day internationals. He came out after the IPL saying that he had found his hands, whatever that means. But that worked for him in the first two matches, where he scored hundreds in each game.”

McGrath hoped that Smith can find his way back at Sydney. In seven Tests at the SCG, Steve Smith has averaged 67.89, with 2 tons and 5 half-centuries to boot. Although McGrath picked out Ashwin vs Smith as a key battle, he reiterated that the Australian needs to do well against the other Indian bowlers as well to be amongst the runs. 

“Maybe being back in Sydney Cricket Ground, he might find his hands again. But that’s going to be the big battle - how he faces against the rest of the Indian bowlers. We saw Jasprit Bumrah bowl him around his legs in the second innings in Melbourne. The way Siraj started and even they’ve got a quality bowling attack and you can't just focus on one bowler.”

While concluding, Glenn McGrath also praised India for targeting Smith during the first two Tests. The Australian explained that Steve Smith is a big Australian wicket, and India have identified the advantage of getting him dismissed early.

Published 07 Jan 2021, 04:15 IST
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