Speaking in the pre-match press conference, Smith said Rahane understands the game well. “Rahane did a great job as captain in Virat’s absence in Ranchi. He is a bit more chilled out than Kohli and is not that emotional. He understands the game well. If Virat misses this match, the Indian side will still be in very good hands,” he said.
Kohli is racing against time to be fit for the Dharamsala Test after he suffered a shoulder injury in Ranchi. During the warm-up session on Friday, the India skipper clutched his right shoulder but did not look in discomfort while batting. However, the right-handed batsman said that he will only take the field if he is 100 percent fit.
Shreyas Iyer has flown in as cover for Kohli and there could be a chance that he might make his debut in the decider should Kohli be declared unfit.
Iyer had blasted an unbeaten 202 in the warm-up game against Australia at the Brabourne Stadium in February and Smith said he has promise. “I think he hit the first ball that he faced against us for a six in that game. He really played well and he looks like a great player for the future,” said Smith.
Not good at assessing wickets
Heading into the Test on Saturday, the pitch has been in focus. HPCA chief curator Sunil Chauhan said the pitch would be a true wicket with plenty of assistance for the fast bowlers. On Friday, the extra grass on the pitch was shaved.
Commenting on the wicket, Smith said, “I am not good at assessing wickets. There is some grass and it looks dry underneath. It will take a reasonable amount of spin as the game progresses. It will be important to post a big total on this pitch.”
Proud over execution
Australia have defied all pre-series expectations against a strong India side. Smith believes execution of plans was crucial in their success.
“The pleasing thing is we are executing our game-plans out in the middle. For many years when we have been coming to these parts, we had the right things and right plans in place but could not execute them in the past. I am proud of the way how the guys have gone about in executing their game-plans,” he added.
Australia will be hoping to register their first series win in India after 13 years. A draw will also be enough for Smith’s team to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.