WTC 2023 Final: “Length at off stump I think is important,” Steve Smith decodes Australian bowlers’ success at the Oval

Australia reduced India to 151/5 at stumps on Day 2 of the WTC final.

Steve Smith | GettyAustralia have outplayed India for the first two days of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) 2023 Final at the Oval in London.

Riding on stunning centuries from Travis Head (163) and Steve Smith (121), Australia piled up a massive 469/10 in their first innings.

With the ball, the Aussies were right on the money as they reduced India to 151/5 at stumps on Day 2. While the pace quartet of Pat Cummins, Scott Boland, Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc dismissed India’s top four cheaply, off-spinner Nathan Lyon got rid of Ravindra Jadeja.

After the day’s play, Smith said the Australian bowlers reaped the benefits of relentlessly targeting the off stump on a pitch with variable bounce.

“The length at off stump I think is important. We’ve obviously seen a bit of variable bounce and some seam movement. So if we’re challenging the top of the stumps as much as possible, I think that’s the quickest way home,” Smith stated.

“You can certainly get the outside edge from there if it seams away and bounces or takes off, which a couple have. And then pads and stumps are in play with the ones that shoot low or seam back. So it’s about as simple as we need to keep it, I think,” he added.

Smith, who was unbeaten on 95 at the close of play on Day 1, completed his three-figure mark in the very first over of the second day with two successive boundaries off Mohammed Siraj.

“Yeah, I think when I first started this morning I couldn’t ask for anything more than two half volleys on my pad to get me going. That was nice to get over that milestone.

“But, no, I was proud of the way I played. I thought I applied myself nicely. Left well yesterday morning. Hit the balls in my area and yeah it was pretty solid in defense. So yeah, felt good out there,” he said.

Smith was involved in a 285-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Travis Head.

“Obviously a really good partnership with Trav who batted beautifully in that middle session yesterday. I thought the way he took the game on, put the pressure back on their bowlers, got them off their lengths, which I think helped me at the other end as well. Yeah, set us up for a nice innings.”

It was Smith’s third hundred at the Oval where he averages close to 100. Talking about his likings for the iconic ground, he said: “I think in terms of English wickets it’s probably as close to Australia as you get I suppose.”

“The pace and bounce that you can get in the surface and if you get yourself in the outfield is obviously the square goes the whole way across so you get good value for your shots. So, yeah, I’ve enjoyed playing here and it was nice to score a few out here again.”

(With PTI Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 09 Jun, 2023

    Share Via