One of the reasons why India have been able to contain the Australian batsmen is due to the struggles of Steve Smith. The ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Decade has had a miserable time in the middle as he has struggled to get runs in the two Tests played so far. Smith has managed to hit just 10 runs in 4 innings as the batting unit has failed to put up decent targets as a whole.
Much of the onus for Smith’s failure to get going is on Ravichandran Ashwin. The 32-year-old off-spinner has spun a web around Smith in the Test series so far as he has dismissed him twice while continuously troubling him with his variations and length.
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar also talked about the duel between the two and explained how Ashwin has gained an upper hand in the contest so far.
“In the first Test, Smith got out to an arm ball or you can call it a straighter which Ashwin releases differently. An off-spinner bowls a straighter which skids off the surface when fingers are not on top of the ball,” Tendulkar told PTI.
Tendulkar also explained how Ashwin has got the ball to bounce and turn in Australia.
“In the second Test, it was not a slider but fingers were on top of the ball which produced bounce and turn.
“Steve Smith played a normal flick to a regulation off-break that any batsman does by instinct and fielder was brilliantly placed there.
“It was a well-planned ball and wicket by Ashwin. Both are class players, so someone is going to have a better day and so far, Ashwin has come out winner in first two Tests.”
It isn’t just former cricketers that have recognised the problem but Smith himself has talked about the duel. Smith lamented his failure to score runs in the series while also admitting that he has let off-spinner dictate terms in the series.
“I probably haven’t played Ashwin as well as I would’ve liked. I probably would’ve liked to have put him under a bit more pressure,” Smith told SEN Radio.
“I’ve sort of let him dictate terms and that’s something I’ve probably never let any spinner do in my career. I’ve sort of taken it to them, been a bit more aggressive, and made them change things,” he said.