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"I wanted to put Ashwin under pressure" - Steve Smith after Day 1 at Sydney

Steve Smith
Steve Smith
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Modified 07 Jan 2021, 14:58 IST
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Star Australia batter Steve Smith has said that he attempted to be more positive against Ravichandran Ashwin on the first day of the third Test in Sydney.

Smith also talked about a small change in his batting-grip which helped him fare better against the Indian bowlers.

The 31-year-old seemed to finally get hold of some form in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy, as he made a bustling 31 off 64 balls on Thursday.

He joined hands with Marnus Labuschagne in the 35th over and raced to 20 runs in no time, before settling into his groove.

Shane Warne in the commentary panel had spotted a newfound resolve in how hard Smith was patting his bat on the ground before every delivery.

Talking to the broadcasters at the end of day's play, Smith said he had tightened his grip for the match.

"I wouldn't say aggressive, just a bit more positive (against Ashwin). I wanted to put him under a little bit of pressure which I haven't done in this series. Been working on a few things, wanted to hold the bat tighter. Felt like I was getting into good positions. Nice to get a couple of boundaries away. Marnus played well, hopefully, we go along well tomorrow," said Smith.

The duo has weaved an unbeaten 60-run partnership and is threatening to take the game away from India. However, the visitors will believe that one wicket here can help them put immense pressure on the inexperienced lower middle-order.

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Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne didn't let Ashwin settle on Thursday

The Australian media and cricket fraternity was rumbling with talk of 'intent' in the lead up to this game. The batsmen certainly fared better in that regard, scoring at a healthy rate of 3 runs per over.

Ashwin had got the better of Steve Smith and Labuschagne twice before in the series. On Thursday however, the batsmen were deft in their footwork and didn't let the off-spinner settle.

Ashwin maintained an economy rate of 3.3 in his 17 overs, which is a lot higher compared to his overall 2.08 before this match.

To be fair to Ashwin, the Sydney track had little to offer for the bowlers, and Rishabh Pant also dropped a dolly off his bowling.

Day two promises more spellbinding action. Ravichandran Ashwin will look to bring all his tricks to use, while Steve Smith and Labuschagne will try their level best to march on.

Published 07 Jan 2021, 14:58 IST
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