Sport Cricket Cricket: Steve Smith thinks short-ball commentary is a tall story
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Cricket: Steve Smith thinks short-ball commentary is a tall story

Out cheap: Steve Smith had a lean summer, but thinks his commentary about his short-ball prowess is overblown. Photo: AAP
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Steve Smith has dismissed concerns over a supposed vulnerability against the short ball, claiming the worries over his run of outs this summer has been overblown.

Smith fell four times to New Zealand left-armer Neil Wagner as the Black Caps set fields for short-pitched bowling and regularly hit Smith with a bumper barrage.

The same plan was tried by India in Smith’s first innings since the home summer in Friday night’s one-day international but Smith was able to ride it out without offering a chance.

Smith didn’t score a century at home last summer, but still compiled 191 runs at 63.66 in the three innings of the three Tests against New Zealand.

And the right-hander defended his form, noting his time spent at the crease and the role he played in Australia’s wins.

“I obviously got out a couple of times to Wagner, but a couple of times in the second innings when I was trying to take him on when we were well in front of the game,” Smith told AAP in India.

“In the first innings I think I averaged about 60 against New Zealand.

“Whilst I didn’t score big runs, I think the game is a team game and me being able to bat so long (is important).

“I think I got 40 off 190, 60 off 180 and faced 240 balls at the MCG for 80. I faced a lot of short balls there.”

Smith still spent an average of 196 balls in each of his first innings against New Zealand, which makes for the second most of any home series in his career.

“Wagner is ranked No.2 in the world for a reason,” Smith said.

“He’s pretty skilful the way he does it – how he can bowl between your rib and shoulder. Sometimes he doesn’t even bowl one over the shoulder.

When the other (bowlers) tried it they didn’t really have much of an effect. It was a bit of a beat-up, I think.’’

Smith’s dismissals prompted former players to question whether teams would adopt a similar tactic on the same angle with a leg trap set.

But the 30-year-old said he just found Wagner tricky, with him shorter and slower than most out-and-out quicks but still having a sizeable gap in speed between his regular and effort ball.

“It just took a bit of getting used to, an obscure field that he bowls to well. It’s just tough to score,” Smith said.

“I heard a lot of comments about people saying, ‘Why don’t they just take it on?’

“But if you take it on and get out, you look like an idiot.

“(Captain Tim Paine) started taking it on at 5-310, which was great. It’s fine then. The game is already in control.

“When you’re a batter and your job is to bat, score runs or wear them down, then I don’t think it’s the right approach.”

-AAP

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