Australia captain Steve Smith worried ahead of Ashes. This is why | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Australia captain Steve Smith worried ahead of Ashes. This is why

Australia have suffered batting collapses in almost each of their last 14 Tests. They face England in the Ashes, starting November 23

cricket Updated: Sep 09, 2017 21:47 IST
HT Correspondent
Steve Smith, Australian cricket team captain, is concerned about his team’s batting form ahead of the Ashes.
Steve Smith, Australian cricket team captain, is concerned about his team’s batting form ahead of the Ashes.(AP)

Australia captain Steve Smith may have heaved a sigh of relief after his side managed to win the second and final Test against Bangladesh following an embarrassing defeat in the opening match, but he has a lot to worry about heading into the Ashes 2017-18.

The biggest series for Smith and co. is not far away with the first Test of the Ashes 2017-18 starting November 23 at The Gabba in Brisbane, and all focus shifts to the home series in which the hosts are expected to regain the Urn.

READ | Steve Smith admits Australia need to rectify regular batting collapses

However, a fact that puts England in an advantageous position already is Australia’s frail batting, despite Smith notching up one of the highest rating points ever in ICC Rankings and his deputy David Warner producing two of the finest knocks of his Test career, in Bangladesh.

The Australian team has suffered batting collapse in 15 times in their last 14 Tests — a fact which has put Smith under tremendous pressure already.

“We’ve had 15 collapses in our last 14 games our analyst told me and that’s not good enough for an Australian cricket team. That’s something we really need to work on and rectify that in the next series, the Ashes,” Smith was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.

Read | Nathan Lyon spikes Bangladesh as Australia level Test series with easy win

“Losing seven or eight for a 100 or a bit more, that’s a pretty reasonable collapse and if you do that on regular occurrences, you’re not going to win a lot of cricket games. It’s something we need to work on. I’d say 95 per cent of batting is mental and decision making and unfortunately we’ve been making the wrong decisions and getting ourselves in some trouble,” he added.

Smith said, “I don’t think it’s technical. Guys just have to make better decisions consistently and hopefully be able to build some partnerships in the middle.”

While the top and the middle order look settled for Australia with the youngsters such as Matthew Renshaw and Peter Handscomb finding their feet quickly, the position of their wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is in a lot of trouble after a string of batting failures, and that of an all-rounder.

Read | David Warner revels in most patient Australia century in Chittagong Test

Australia played Hilton Cartwright in the second Test against Bangladesh at Chittagong, without much success.

Glenn Maxwell has been around in the middle-order in the Test series in India and Bangladesh, but his ability to chip in as an additional spinner is a factor which can be of consideration mostly when Australia are playing in the Indian subcontinent.

Talking about Wade’s position, Smith said, “I think Matty knows (this) himself … he came out to a few of the guys the other day and said he needed more runs. He’s open and honest about that. We’ve got the one-dayers (in India) and then he’ll go back and play Shield cricket and hopefully get a few big scores and ‘keep really well and keep putting his name up.”

“We really love him around the Australian team, he provides a lot out on the field for us. Great energy and good chat which is something that we need. He provides a lot there but hopefully he can continue to improve and put some performances on the board back home and keep putting his name back there,” he added.

Smith, however, hoped that Usman Khawaja will return to his best in Australia where he has had the most success. “The way he plays in Australia is really suited for those conditions so hopefully he can make some big scores and spend some time in the middle and then hopefully have a big summer for us,” the Australian captain said.