Steve Smith has been compared to Sir Don Bradman after his recent heroics in the Ashes series. He scored a record 774 runs @ 110.57 in 7 innings with 3 tons and 3 fifties. England were just short of ideas to dismiss Smith whose batting technique will make pundits bay for his blood.
Smith’s run-making spree was hailed as Bradmanesque as no other batsman from either side in the series came close to match the Australian.
So, is Smith invincible? Can no bowler get Smith out cheaply?
The opposition should not lose hope. Although Smith may have looked invincible in the Test series, his batting technique or the lack of it makes him subjectable to early dismissals.
Cricwizz takes a look at five bowlers who can dismiss him cheaply and why.
Bumrah is one of the best bowlers in the world currently across all formats. He has recently added a deceptive inswinger to his armoury that he exhibited during the West Indies Test series. Bumrah pitches the ball up with his normal delivery action but gets the ball swing in late to either catch the batsman in front of the wicket or bowled.
As Smith shuffles across his stumps, moving away from the line of the ball, but relying on his hand-eye coordination to the do the job for him, a late inswinger bowled by Bumrah can rap him on the pads and catch him plumb.
Smith’s big shuffle makes him fallible to incoming deliveries. And none better than Bumrah to exploit Smith’s weakness.
Jimmy, unfortunately, could bowl just a few overs before he was sidelined for the rest of the series. Anderson is a disciplined line and length bowler. He bowls at the fourth stump consistently, in the area of uncertainty, making batsmen extremely sceptical of their off-stump. Smith, who is known to play his strokes, is likely to lose his patience to the disciplined bowling from Anderson and edge it to behind the wickets.
Smith made the most of Anderson-less England attack in the Ashes. It could have been a different story if Anderson had played the full Ashes.
The two have played against each other in IPL. The two are master of their skills. It would be interesting to see them clash in Test cricket. Rashid Khan has a bagful of tricks in his sleeves. He has the doosra, the flipper, the straighter one, to bamboozle any top-order batsman.
He has taken top-order wickets such as Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni in IPL. Hence, Rashid has the edge if he comes on to bowl against Smith.
Rabada is raw pace. The South African has great control over his line and length. He hardly gives room to play shots. He earns his wickets when a batsman plays a rash stroke after failing to counter his accurate bowling. He also has great short-balls that are aimed at the batsman’s ribs.
Rabada can counter Smith with his short-pitch stuff in the hope that the Australian will mistime or top-edge a pull or clumsily fend-off to close-in fielders. A short ball, bowled at an extreme pace directed at the ribs, has big potential to earn wickets. And Rabada has done so in the past.
Although Lasith Malinga has retired from ODIs and Tests, he would have given Smith a tough job to preserve his wicket and score runs if the two would face each other in Tests. Malinga’s toe-crunching yorkers are still a big hit and a lethal weapon in all forms of cricket.
Malinga can fool Smith with few short-pitch balls before bowling his unplayable yorkers to get him out either LBW or bowled. As Smith moves across the stumps, an unexpected fuller-length or yorker after a few short balls would surprise him and he might fail to get his bat on time.
A slower full-length would be even more dangerous to get Smith out.