<
>

Wanted to tire India's bowlers, says Smith

Steven Smith was not the only man to raise a century on the second day at the MCG. R Ashwin finished with 3 for 134, Mohammed Shami with 4 for 138 and Umesh Yadav 4 for 130. When Smith steered a single to third man off Ishant Sharma a cheer went around the ground as the spectators realised that all four of India's frontline bowlers had registered hundreds.

Ishant finished with 0 for 104 and the inability of India's bowlers to run through Australia's tail has meant a heavy workload for the bowlers in this series. M Vijay bowled five overs at the MCG but India have only four main bowling options compared to Australia's five, including Shane Watson. Smith said that was something the Australians had aimed to exploit.

"They've only got three quicks in their attack and a spinner, so I think the longer we can keep them out there, the more overs they have to bowl, the more tired they get, and the more scoring opportunities you have," Smith said. "That was our plan - to try and keep them out there for as long as possible and know that if we had periods where we didn't score too many runs that we'd be able to catch them up later on."

There were such periods occasionally, including when Smith first came to the crease with Australia at 2 for 115 on the first day. The loss of a third wicket meant Smith and Shaun Marsh were both new to the wicket and the runs came slowly - Smith's first 31 deliveries brought 29 dot balls. However, by hanging in he was able to ensure he got on top eventually.

"I started pretty slow yesterday, I was 2 from 30 balls I think from memory," Smith said. "I think it was just about being patient and letting the bowlers keep coming back and keep coming back and getting tired. I think we were able to do that and reap rewards late in the day yesterday and today as well."

By the end of Australia's innings, India's bowlers were tired after Smith and the lower order had more than doubled the total from five down for the second consecutive Test. Smith tried some fancy shots including a reverse-sweep for four off Ashwin and until he was bowled trying to ramp Umesh Yadav over the keeper's head for 192, he enjoyed his final stages at the crease.

"I was going to declare at tea, so I was trying to get as many runs as we could before then," Smith said. "I think 530 is a nice total for us. It was pretty fun to be honest. Batting in general is always fun though. It was nice to be able to play a few shots at the end and try to get the total up as high as we could. It was good fun."