Former Australia cricketer Michael Hussey has said Steve Smith being unable to get going against India is a “huge blow” for the hosts, adding that the visitors have come all prepared for the batsman. So far in the series, India have managed to keep a tight rein on Smith. The reason for this, according to Hussey, is the “fantastic” plans that the Indian side has put in place for the batter. Hussey said India is bowling straight, attacking the stumps, and setting a leg-side field for him to cut off scoring options.
“Steve Smith has not been able to get going in this series at all and it is a huge blow for Australia and their chances in this series. India have come to Australia with fantastic plans for Smith. India are attacking the stumps, bowling straight, setting leg-side field to cut off scoring options and it is really working,” Hussey said in a video posted by ESPN Cricinfo.
“Last summer, the New Zealand team got Smith out a few times with the short ball. I have noticed, Bumrah in particular, he has been bowling short and pushing Steve Smith back and then attacking the stumps, looking for LBW or bowling him out. So, big form worries for Steve Smith. He is a great player and we would expect him to work his way out of it,” he added.
India secured an eight-wicket win over Australia in the Boxing Day Test. With no Virat Kohli, no Rohit Sharma, no Ishant Sharma, no Mohammad Shami, and the humiliation of getting bundled out for 36 at the Adelaide Oval, it was a brilliant turnaround by India to level the series. The win not only brought India right back in the series, but also took the team a step closer to the final of the World Test Championship.
While Australia’s whole batting line-up has struggled to score big runs against India, one major concern for the hosts apart from Smith is Marnus Labuschagne’s form. Hussey feels India are using Labuschagne’s vulnerabilities to their advantage.
“Marnus Labuschagne came with so much expectation into the series that he was going to have another prolific season, but unfortunately, it has not really worked out that way just yet. Indians have got a really good plan for him and they know he is a little bit vulnerable for LBWs. So, they are bowling very straight to him and setting leg-side field to cut off the run-scoring options and they are attacking the stumps all the time,” he said.
The third Test between India and Australia will begin on January 7.
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