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Steve Smith hopes Australia stand up even if they don’t deliver against India

Australia captain Steve Smith realises the enormity of the task in hand as they face India in the four-Test series, not having won a Test in the country for 13 years.

cricket Updated: Feb 22, 2017 21:48 IST
Steve Smith,Australian national cricket team,India national cricket team
Australia captain Steve Smith wants his team to show some fight against India in the four -match Test series, beginning in Pune from Thursday. (Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

Steve Smith admitted Australia will go into the Test series against India as clear underdogs as it was a very subdued visiting captain who faced the media on Wednesday.

Read more | Australia hope to start series on positive note against rampaging India at home

Their poor away record seemed to weigh heavily on Smith going into the opening Test. Australia’s record in the subcontinent has been abysmal, and they haven’t won a Test in India since 2004. They have suffered three whitewashes in Asia in the last four years --- 4-0 here in 2013, 2-0 to Pakistan in UAE and 3-0 in Sri Lanka. Smith led against Sri Lanka.

“Ya, I guess, we are the underdogs in this series. We hear comments like Harbhajan expects us to lose 4-0… (but) that’s not what we are here for. We want to compete here against India. As I said, it’s going to be a tough series, they have some quality players in their line-up. (But) what I want to see from our boys is the ability to adapt to the plans we have in place, show some fight,” said Smith on the eve of the opening Test of the series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Playing down Bhajji’s forecast

Responding to Harbhajan’s prediction, he said: “Everyone is entitled to their opinions, we are confident with the squad we have got here to compete against India… India has played some very good cricket, particularly at home.

Smith said the ability to identify key moments in the games will be vital to take the fight to Virat Kohli’s team.

Read more | Virat Kohli warns Australian ‘buddies’: I know where to draw line of friendship

“There are going to be difficult moments in the games, (these) key moments that we need to identify, hopefully we can have the skills in place and our plans in place and the mindsets in place to turnaround those difficult moments.”

Slow pitch expected

Pune is experiencing dry heat and Smith expected India to unleash three spinners. Jayant Yadav is expected to partner R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the first Test.

“At the moment the wicket looks incredibly dry, and it will be slow,” Smith said.

Talking about the challenge of playing spin, Smith said it was difficult for the Australia batsmen to pick the spinners out of their hand. “In Australia the bounce and spin is generally consistent, but here there is uncertainty, so you have to have a plan in place to play the spin of Ashwin, Jadeja and whoever they are expected to choose tomorrow.”

Read more | True praise or mental tactics? Here’s what Virat Kohli said about Steve Smith

The Australian selectors have shown a lot of faith in Smith’s captaincy and backed him despite some heavy losses and Smith sounded desperate for a turnaround in his team’s away record.

“We want to change the way we play away from home, we want to be more adaptable and show some fight, to play the way you need to in those conditions. If you can do that, then we will see success.”

First Published: Feb 22, 2017 18:23 IST