Australia vice-captain Steve Smith has claimed that his team is prepared to counter off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's threat in the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The star batter also pointed out that Mahesh Pithiya, who has helped the visitors with their preparations, is a similar type of bowler.
The Tamil Nadu off-spinner arguably remains the biggest threat for Australia as he has 312 wickets in 51 Tests at home, averaging 21.16 with 24 fifers. The veteran has also claimed 89 victims in 18 matches against the tourists at 31.48. He will be licking his lips, given the fact that the tourists are likely to have at least five left-handers in their top-seven.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Smith stated that the visitors are not overthinking Ashwin's threat and have prepared aptly.
"There have been many off-spinners we played and Mahesh is one of them. He bowls a similar style to that of Ashwin. We are not overthinking things. Ash is a quality bowler but we have the tools in our kit bag to counter that."
The 36-year-old Indian spinner also got Australia's premier Test batter thrice in the last series played between the two sides. Yet, Smith averages a healthy 57 against Ashwin in India.
"Don’t think there will be a heap of bounce" - Steve Smith on the Nagpur track
Steve Smith, who assessed the track for the first Test, felt left-arm spinners would threaten left-handers a lot. He also believes that the pitch might go up and down over time.
"Pretty dry, particularly one end. I think it will take a bit of spin, particularly the left-arm spinner taking it into our left-handers. There’s a section there that’s quite dry. Other than that, I can’t really get a good gauge on it. I don’t think there will be a heap of bounce in the wicket, I think it will be quite skiddy for the seamers and maybe a bit of up-and-down movement as the game goes on."
Should Australia win the series, Pat Cummins and co. will become the first Aussie team since 2004 to beat India on their home soil. The win that Australia gained in 2004 was itself their first since 1969.
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