Cricket

Smith confident of improving poor Asia stats

2016-07-25 14:04
Steve Smith (Getty Images)

Pallekele - Australia captain Steve Smith is confident of being able to win the Test series against Sri Lanka, starting in Pallekele on Tuesday, because they have had nearly three weeks to acclimatise to the conditions.

The Aussies have a poor record on the sub-continent over the past decade, winning just one Test in eight years, having had a particular weakness when batting against spin.

But this time, helped by Sri Lanka being very poor in recent months, Smith is sure his team will triumph, as they've been working hard in Colombo over the past weeks, with the help of former spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

Smith said on the Cricket Australia website: "There's a good reason why we've had such a long lead-in before the first Test.

"That's because we haven't performed all that well in subcontinental conditions over recent years, having won just one Test out of the past 15 we've played since 2008, and that's something we're very keen to turn around," added the Aussie skipper.

"It's been a good lead-in... all the batters were able to spend some time in the middle even though our opponents probably didn't bowl as many overs of spin as we were anticipating.

"So when they weren't in the middle, they were working hard in the nets with Sri Lankan legend Murali and our Indian fielding and spin coach 'Sri' (Sridharan Sriram), which was very beneficial."

This is Smith's first time leading the team in Asia, having taken over from Michael Clarke as Test skipper last year, and he has given his tactics a lot of thought, especially concerning the condition of the ball.

He added: "As captain leading my first Test tour in subcontinental conditions, I'm hopeful that we can learn a lot from the way that we've played on these sorts of pitches previously and change the things that haven't worked for us.

"I've got a few different ideas of how to approach things as captain, and they revolve around the different way the components of the game get broken up in conditions like Sri Lanka, India and the UAE.

"The challenge is in finding the right mix of strategies, and the right times to be attacking and then to pull back and be defensive.

"For me, as captain, it's really important to recognise instinctively when those moments arrive, to be really adaptable to make sure we seize them when they come and don't allow the game to drift.

"I know it will be a real challenge, but I think we're ready to go."

Read more on:    steve smith  |  cricket
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