Steven Smith has taken his love affair with the Indian bowlers to an all new high after smashing 149 in the first ODI in Perth on Tuesday and former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar believes the visitors will need to come up with a plan to stop the rampaging Australian captain if they are to have an impact in this series. (Rohit Sharma's Ton in Vain as Steven Smith, George Bailey Star in Australia Win)
In the 2014/15 summer, Smith's scores in the Test series were 162*, 52*, 133, 28, 192, 14, 117 and 71. In the ODIs that followed, he hit 47 in the Carlton Mid ODI Tri-series match in Melbourne while he smashed 105 in the semi-final of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup in Sydney. (George Bailey Says Presence of DRS Could Have Changed Outcome)
Following his second consecutive ton against India, Smith ensured Australia pulled off the highest successful chase in an ODI in Perth when they chased down 310 with five wickets to spare. His 242-run stand with George Bailey, who also responded with his third ODI century, gave Australia a magnificent win. (Rohit Sharma an Exceptional ODI Player: Sourav Ganguly)
Speaking to NDTV, Gavaskar said that dismissing Smith will be the key for India. (Dhoni Says Did Not Bank on Ashwin and Jadeja Having a Bad Day)
"India need to find a way to get rid of Steven Smith. They are still struggling to get the Australian skipper cheaply. They had no clue how to get him out last year," Gavaskar said.
Series Will be Battle Between Batsmen
In the 2014/15 season, both Smith and Virat Kohli criticised the nature of the Australian wickets during the Test series which Australia won 2-0. Most of the Australian bowlers complained that the pitches were too slow and it was difficult to take 20 wickets.
In the 2015/16 season, Australian pitches continue to reward batsmen with plenty of runs. Gavaskar stated that pitches Down Under are now tailor-made for batting and that batsmen should capitalise.
"The pitch at Perth was over-rated. This series will be a battle between the batsmen. Once the team negotiates the new ball, the pitches in Australia become very good for batting. The Indian batsmen need to capitalise on these pitches. A score of 350 must be a minimum," Gavaskar said.
Sran Must Develop the Incoming Delivery
Barinder Sran made his debut for India and showed promise. He picked up the openers cheaply and dismissed Smith for 149 to finish with decent match figures of 3/56 from 9.2 overs. However, Gavaskar said the key to getting Smith out cheaply lay in Sran's ability to bring the ball back in.
"If Sran can develop the ball that swings back in, he will pose real problems for Smith. Since the Australian skipper shuffles around so much in the crease, he can be bowled around the legs or be trapped in front of the wicket. Sran must talk to Ashish Nehra or Wasim Akram who can help him get the ball to swing back," Gavaskar added.
India will be aiming to bounce back from this defeat quickly with the next game in Brisbane on Friday. They have a fairly decent record in six games played at the Gabba, having lost three, won two and one match ending in a no-result.Â