Steven Smith has shown the ability to deal with spin, and spin-friendly pitches, on this tour much better than some of the more illustrious names in the Australian line-up.
On Friday, Smith was once again the man to bring some respectability to the Australian tally.
He scored 46 and played his part in the retrieving 53-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Peter Siddle.
The state of the pitch for the final Test is on expected lines and Smith made no secret of how it felt to be batting on the cracked surface.
“That’s probably not the day one wicket that I’m used to playing on. It’s broken up a fair bit to start with. It’s going to get tougher to bat on and 231 at the end of the day is not bad. Hopefully, we can grind out another 50 or so tomorrow,” said Smith.
On how he has managed to play spin better than some of his teammates, Smith explained, “I had a lot of time in the ‘nets’ during the first two Tests. For me, it was about finding a way to first of all survive, and then score runs. It’s about having fast feet, trying to get down the wicket and taking advantage of the fields they set.”
Asked about the predictable manner in which the Australian innings has unfolded once again, Smith said, “With the new ball the first couple of overs is an easier time to bat than when the spinners come on with the harder ball. And then as the ball gets softer it gets a little bit easier. I think that’s one thing that we’ve got to take out of this tour — trying to find a way to get in, to face as many balls as you can.”
Later, R. Ashwin gave the Aussies their due.
“They batted pretty well. We have to give them credit. But we have to stick to our guns and see what happens.”
Reflecting on the crumbling pitch, the off-spinner said, “It is breaking up, we just hope it breaks up more. You have to be very careful if there is assistance first of all, because if there is, you have to be much more on the spot and not really worry too much about doing from your hand.”