“Yeah, perhaps [my dismissal was the turning point],” Smith said after Australia lost by six wickets. “I mean you never want to get out. We were trying to take it a little bit deeper, and it was obviously very challenging [on this pitch]. And it was going to be challenging for the guy coming in…We were just trying to take it a little bit deeper and unfortunately felt like I got a pretty good ball from Jadeja. Felt like I was back playing Test cricket. But to lose those wickets in a row probably cost us getting up to around 250.”
“I thought I was playing quite nicely,” Smith said. “It wasn’t a wicket where you can just go out and muscle it and have a high strike rate I suppose. We had to work our way through that scenario, and it was challenging. Felt like I was moving into the ball nicely and played a few nice drives off the fast bowlers and was working spin around. So, [I] felt good and unfortunately couldn’t go on to make a bigger one.”
“I think we can learn a bit from this game, definitely. We’ve talked as a group [about] playing according to the surface and maybe a nice partnership at that stage would’ve been good. If we were able to extend it a little bit longer and had one more partnership we could’ve posted a total that could’ve been defendable on that wicket if all things stayed the same, I suppose.”
Smith scored five boundaries – all against pace – and trusted his defence against Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and R Ashwin in spin-friendly Chepauk. Hitting good-length balls against the turn was fraught with risk and loose balls never arrived. India’s spin trio had combined figures of 30-3-104-6.
“From my point of view, it’s just [about] hitting the men in the deep as much as possible and get down to the other end, rotate the strike, and wait for loose balls and then try to put those away,” Smith said. “With those three quality bowlers, there wasn’t a great deal of loose balls coming, so yeah it was challenging. So, I was just looking to rotate the strike as much as possible around that middle period and that’s essentially it.”
Australia are set to play their next eight group games in seven different venues, starting with back-to-back matches against South Africa and Sri Lanka in Lucknow. They had struggled to adapt to the conditions in Chepauk, but Smith is hopeful of Australia faring better on other pitches and peaking at the right time in the tournament.
“I think we can learn a bit from this game, definitely,” Smith said. “We’ve talked as a group [about] playing according to the surface and maybe a nice partnership at that stage would’ve been good. If we were able to extend it a little bit longer and had one more partnership we could’ve posted a total that could’ve been defendable on that wicket if all things stayed the same, I suppose.
“And then we might go to the next place [where] it might be flat and we might score 350 and play according to what that surface is. I think that’s the most important thing to do playing in these conditions. In tournament play, you don’t want to be peaking too early. You obviously got to do enough to make your way to the finals, but you want to play your best cricket in the end. So, hopefully we can turn it around and beat South Africa in a few days’ time.”