Smith is capable of withstanding Indian bouncers: McDonald

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Sydney: Australian assistant coach Ardue Macdonald said on Sunday that Australian batsman Steven Smith has fully prepared himself to withstand the bouncers and short pitch balls of the Indian fast bowlers. The four-Test series between India and Australia starts on 17 December and Team India has such a pace battery as Jaspreet Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, who continuously deliver the ball at a speed of 140-145 kmph. The opposition takes a hard test of the batsmen. Smith has been troubled by England fast bowler Joffra Archer and New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wegner in the recent past. Smith suffered an injury to Archer’s bouncer in the Ashes last year, forcing him to stay out of that Test. In the England tour prior to the IPL this year, Smith was hit at the helm in net practice due to which he did not play the ODI series. Given this, it is believed that the Indian fast bowler could put Australia’s top batsman in trouble in the Test series, but assistant coach McDonald believes that Smith has prepared himself mentally to face such balls. And he will not have any problem in front of the Indian fast bowlers. Smith himself recently said that he has no problem with short pitch balls. Macdonald said, I don’t think that’s his weakness. According to me, they use such balls to put initial pressure on them so that they can be dismissed early. Smith did not have a great performance in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL). Smith captained the Rajasthan Royals, scoring 311 runs in 14 innings with the help of three half-centuries. McDonald was the coach of the Rajasthan team and saw Smith’s performance very closely. Smith was dismissed 12 times in 14 innings in which he was dismissed by the fast bowlers 10 times. It was patted twice by Pat Cummus and cheaply by Jaspreet Bumrah, Enrich Nortje and James Pattinson. “Short pitch balls and bouncers have been used by many bowling attack against our top batsmen but Smith has also responded to them with his bat,” Macdonald said. According to me, this scheme has not proved to be fully effective. He said, “Even in one-day cricket and T20 cricket he has been able to score against this strategy of bowlers.” So, I do not think this is their weakness. Virat Kohli’s team adopted the same strategy in the three ODIs played in January this year and I would not be surprised if they repeat it again. Smith had scored 98 and 131 in the January series. Indian fast bowlers have had a great performance in their home and overseas pitches in the last two years. Indian fast bowlers have taken the most wickets in Test cricket since 2018. Indian bowlers have taken 292 wickets in 24 matches at an average of 21.33. During this period the bowlers have taken five wickets in 15 innings, which is the highest for any one country. Jasprit Bumrah (68), Mohammed Shami (61) and Ishant Sharma (53) are the highest wicket-takers on foreign soil in the last two years. This performance of Indian fast bowlers is the alarm bell for Australia. The series will begin with an ODI between India and Australia in Sydney from Friday. After this, the T20 series will be played between the two countries and then the Test series will start from 17 December.

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