Ranchi pitch will crumble early, predicts Smith

2017-03-15 20:03
Steve Smith (Getty Images)

Bangalore - Australia skipper Steve Smith Wednesday said he expected the pitch in the third Test in Ranchi to start breaking up from day two in a low-scoring series which has been marred by complaints over sub-standard tracks.

The pitches in the first two Tests have been under scanner after match referee Chris Broad rated the Pune track as "poor" and reportedly termed the one in Bangalore as "below average".

The tourists surprised Virat Kohli's India in the series opener in Pune by wrapping up the game inside three days on a pitch that turned viciously from day one.

World number one India bounced back in the second Test at Bangalore, which saw variable bounce, to square the four-match series at 1-1 but only after four days of see-saw battle.

Smith said the wicket at Ranchi, which is hosting its first-ever Test from Thursday, looked dry from the outset.

"It was a little bit drier than it was yesterday. The groundsmen were pretty keen to get the covers back pretty quickly, so it doesn't see much sun," Smith told reporters on Wednesday.

"It will play reasonably well the first day. I don't think there will be a great deal of bounce. I think it will shoot quite low. Then from there it will break up as the game wears on.

"So 22 yards and both teams have to play on it. Hopefully we can just do a little bit better," Smith added.

While Australia's Steve O'Keefe returned with a match haul of 12 wickets in the series opener, offspinner Nathan Lyon bagged a career-best 8-50 in the second game.

Smith expects his bowlers to once again come good against a strong Indian batting lineup that is yet to see Kohli, who has managed just 40 runs in four innings, fire.

"I think you have to be hitting the stumps the majority of the time and that's pretty basic... Try and build pressure, perhaps take wickets in different ways," said Smith.

"We have plans in place for these kind of wickets where there is not much bounce... Hopefully we can adapt and execute our skills in this Test match," he added.

Read more on:    australia  |  steve smith  |  cricket


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