Australia’s Steve Smith unfazed by ‘Bazball’

Steve Smith says he finds England’s new attacking approach entertaining to watch, but questions whether it is sustainable.

AFP
FILE PHOTO: Steve Smith says he is intrigued to see how long the new approach lasts, if it's sustainable.

Australia’s Steve Smith said on Wednesday he found England’s new attacking “Bazball” approach entertaining to watch, but questioned whether it was sustainable.

England has won all four Tests under new coach Brendon “Baz” McCullum and skipper Ben Stokes with a fearless new mentality, including thrashing India on Tuesday.

“I’ve watched a little bit of it, it’s certainly been entertaining, they’re coming out playing their shots,” Smith said ahead of Australia’s second Test against Sri Lanka starting Friday. “Even someone like Alex Lees started to come down the wicket when he was on nothing really to play the way he played (against India),” he told reporters.

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Having tongue-in-cheek shouted “Bazball” before whacking a shot in an earlier net session, Smith said he was “intrigued to see how long it lasts, if it’s sustainable. “If you come on a wicket that’s got some grass and Josh Hazlewood, (Pat) Cummins and (Mitchell) Starc are rolling in at you. Is it going to be the same? We’ll see what happens.”

If you come on a wicket that’s got some grass and Josh Hazlewood, (Pat) Cummins and (Mitchell) Starc are rolling in at you. Is it going to be the same? We’ll see what happens - Steve Smith

England’s Joe Root now has more centuries to his name than Smith, but the Australian was quick to point out that his rival has played 35 more Tests. “He’s a quality player and looks like he’s pretty tough to get out at the moment,” Smith said of the prolific run-getter.

The touring Australian team has itself played attacking cricket on turning pitches to go one-up in the two-Test series with a hammering of the host in the opener. Spinner Nathan Lyon led the bowling charge with nine wickets in the match and the batters took control of the opposition spinners with Cameron Green scoring 77 as he used the sweep shot to good effect.

“We went at a good pace in the first Test. If you were sitting there not playing your shots or looking to score, you were probably going to get out eventually. So it was get them before they get us,” Smith said.